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October 2023

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Barbie Film Banned in Kuwait and Lebanon

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Kuwait has prohibited the screening of the movie Barbie, citing the preservation of “public ethics and social norms.” This move follows a Lebanese minister’s call for a similar ban, alleging that the film promotes homosexuality.

Kuwait’s Ministry of Information spokesperson stated that the Warner Brothers film, which has amassed over $1 billion in global box office sales, introduces ideas conflicting with Kuwaiti society and order. The supernatural horror film Talk to Me has also been banned in Kuwait on comparable grounds.

In Lebanon, Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada urged the interior ministry to prevent the showing of Barbie due to its perceived promotion of homosexuality, rejection of paternal authority, and trivialization of maternal roles.

This request prompted Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi to have the censorship committee review the film. The ban on Barbie is situated within a broader anti-LGBTQ campaign in Lebanon, with Hezbollah playing a significant role.

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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah emphasized the need to counter materials supporting homosexuality, asserting that such acts should be met with death. This collective movement against the LGBTQ community is seen as a wave of intolerance. Despite expectations, the movie Barbie, featuring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, lacks explicit references to same-sex relationships. The film, directed by a solo female director, has become the first to surpass $1 billion in earnings. It has faced bans or content modifications in Vietnam, the Philippines, and Pakistan.

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