‘Barbie’ Banned in Some Middle Eastern Countries for Promoting ‘Homosexuality and Sexual Transformation’

BAR-D07-00081-Edit.tif - Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. Pictures
BAR-D07-00081-Edit.tif - Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. Pictures

Barbie’s journey will finally reach the Middle East on Thursday — but only in some countries. Kuwait and Lebanon have moved to ban the film, according to The Associated Press.

Kuwait’s state-run KUNA news agency announced its resolution late Wednesday night, explaining that the movie supports “ideas and beliefs that are alien to the Kuwaiti society and public order.” It did not specify which plot points the unnamed decision-makers found objectionable.

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Lebanon’s culture minister, Mohammad Mortada, however, was more forthright. Releasing Barbie, he said, would “contradict values of faith and morality” and “promote homosexuality and sexual transformation.” He forwarded his request to suppress the movie to Lebanon’s General Security agency, which reports to a part of the government known for censorship. According to the AP, it had not yet made an official decision yet, which reports that Lebanon is already experiencing uproar over the film.

The movie, incidentally, doesn’t put forth any kind of homosexual agenda. It merely features actors who are gay and transgender, such as Kate McKinnon and Hari Nef, respectively.

In spite of the criticism in some countries, the movie will nevertheless open in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. The film was set to come out there on Aug. 31, but the earlier release date suggested that the film’s producers had resolved any lingering censorship issues in the region, according to the AP.

Vietnam also banned Barbie but not over its sexuality. The country objected to a map shown in the picture that depicts the “nine-dash line” in the South China Sea, a contested demarcation of territory between China and other countries in the area, including Vietnam.

Conservatives in the United States, including Bill Maher, have had similar gripes with the picture as those in Lebanon. Some factions of the right win attempted to rally a boycott of the film, with one protester burning Barbie and Ken dolls. “My hope for the movie is that it’s an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren’t necessarily serving us as either women or men,” filmmaker Greta Gerwig said in response to the protest.

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