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Kuwait bans ‘Barbie’ movie, Lebanon considers doing same

August 10, 2023 at 9:58 pm

A woman views a post published by the Kuwait Times on their official Instagram account reporting on the ban of the 2023 film “Barbie” in Kuwait, in Kuwait City on August 10, 2023. [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images]

Kuwait has banned the movie, “Barbie”, in an effort to protect the country’s “public ethics and social traditions”, amid significant controversy over the movie’s subliminal messaging and social overtures.

According to the state-run Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), a spokesman for the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information stated yesterday that “Barbie” – which has successfully reached over $1 billion in box office ticket sales worldwide – “promulgates ideas and beliefs that are alien to Kuwaiti society and public order.”

“Barbie” is not the only movie Kuwait has banned, with the Ministry also recently banning the Australian supernatural horror movie, “Talk to Me”, on similar grounds.

Kuwait’s decision has been considered by other countries in the region, particularly in Lebanon, where Lebanese Culture Minister, Mohammad Mortada, yesterday urged authorities to “take all necessary measures to ban showing” “Barbie” at cinemas on the grounds that it “promotes homosexuality and trans-sexuality … supports rejecting a father’s guardianship, undermines and ridicules the role of the mother and questions the necessity of marriage and having a family.”

Following those remarks, Lebanon’s Interior Minister, Bassam Mawlawi, asked the country’s censorship committee – which falls under his Ministry – to review the movie and provide recommendations on its censorship. Its ban in Lebanon has not yet been finalised, but if it is to be censored, it would be just weeks before “Barbie” was due to be screened in the country on 31 August.

Since the movie’s release last month, it was also speculated that Egypt would ban its screening, but those fears were curtailed last week when Cairo announced its release date within the country.

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