This 'Barbie' will not be shown in Kuwait: Gulf state bans film, Bahrain and Lebanon could be next

This 'Barbie' will not be shown in Kuwait: Gulf state bans film, Bahrain and Lebanon could be next
Kuwait's information ministry said it would not allow 'Barbie' to be screened on the grounds that the film promotes 'ideas and beliefs that are alien' to Kuwaiti society.
2 min read
10 August, 2023
Barbie has been subject to a number of bans and censorships across the globe [Getty]

Blockbuster film Barbie has been banned by Kuwait in a bid to "protect" its "ethics and social traditions," state media reported Wednesday.

Official news agency KUNA quoted a spokesperson for the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information as saying that the film "promulgates ideas and beliefs that are alien to Kuwaiti society and public order."

Elsewhere in the Gulf, dozens of MPs in Bahrain have called for a ban on the film, which starts Australian actress Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie and Canadian actor Ryan Gosling as Ken.

According to the Bahraini newspaper Al-Watan, 32 deputies issued a statement denouncing the Ministry of Information’s decision to allow the film to be screened.

The deputies accused the ministry of "breaching its duty" towards society, especially young people, and said the film featured societally "alien" ideas that contradict Islam as well as Bahraini culture and values.

Despite the backlash, the film is scheduled to be shown across cinemas Bahrain this month, as well as in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Live Story

Lebanon’s culture minister has moved to ban the film, on the grounds it "promotes homosexuality and transgenderism" and contradicts "religious values."

Mohamed al-Mortada said the film, which was slated to be screened in Lebanon later this month following a delay, violates "moral and religious values as well as the principles of Lebanon," according to state media.

Live Story

Barbie details the story of a doll that begins to question her purpose in life before deciding to embark on a journey of self-discovery.

The film has widely been lauded for its feminist message and quick-witted humour. It does not feature any overt references to homosexuality.

This is not the first time a film perceived to include LGBT content has been barred in the region.

Just this week, Kuwait banned screenings of another film, the Australian supernatural horror 'Talk to Me', for similar reasons.

Though 'Talk to Me' features non-binary transgender actor Zoe Terakes, who plays a character whose gender identity is not the discussed in the film.

Last year, many Arab countries announced they would not be screening the Pixar animated feature 'Lightyear' following reports that the film includes a kiss between two female characters.

Similarly, a number of Middle Eastern and North African states banned the showing of the Marvel film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as it features an openly gay character.