Barbie Movie Banned in Lebanon

The minister said that the movie “promotes sexual deviance and transsexuality.”

Lebanon’s Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada has decided to ban the Barbie movie from cinemas. Prior to the ban, the release date had been delayed until late August. The delay turned to a ban because the film contradicts the “moral and religious values as well as the principles of Lebanon,” Lebanon media reported yesterday.

The minister also said that the movie “promotes sexual deviance and transsexuality.” “Sexual deviance” is a commonly accepted euphemism for homosexuality in the Middle East.

The Barbie ban comes on on the heels of increasing anti-gay messaging spread by Lebanese politicians and leaders throughout the Middle East.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Shiite Islamist Hezbollah movement, made a speech in late July marking Ashura, which commemorates the killing of the Hussain bin Ali. In the speech, he referred to homosexuality as “sexual perversion” and called gay relationships a “threat” to Lebanon. Just before his speech, Nasrallah released a video message, encouraging the use of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and supporting the notion of punishing homosexuals.

The Human Rights Watch reports that LGBTQ people have reported online harassment and death threats following the speech.

Ironically, Lebanon used to be regarded as one of the most socially liberal countries in the Middle East, but recent government activity and attitudes have proven to be increasingly anti-LGBTQ.

Lebanon isn’t the only country that has moved to ban the Barbie movie, citing claims of violating the values of the nation. According to state-run KUNA news agency, Kuwait also recently banned the movie, due to the “ideas that encourage unacceptable behavior and a message that distorts the prevailing values of society.” Vietnam also banned the film last month, because of a map depicting China’s claim to the South China sea.

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