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Why does Lebanon want to ban Barbie from cinemas?

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Lebanon's Minister of Culture wants to ban the Barbie movie from local cinemas for promoting "homosexuality". Here's what you need to know.
Lebanon Barbie ban

Lebanon’s Minister of Culture wants to ban the Barbie movie from local cinemas for promoting “homosexuality”.

Minister Mohammad Wissam Al-Mortada argued that the film contradicts Lebanon’s moral and religious values.

The film does not feature any gay relationships. It is not scheduled for release in Lebanon until 31 August.

The ban

Al-Mortada revealed he has written to Lebanon’s General Security agency, which oversees censorship, to “take all necessary measures” to prevent the release of Barbie.

Al-Mortada argued that Barbie also contradicts traditional values by “rejecting” and “ridiculing” the roles of fathers and mothers.

He also said that Barbie promotes “questioning the necessity of marriage and having a family”, portraying them as deterrents to women’s self-development.

Al-Mortada declared that “showing [Barbie] in Lebanon will have the worst effects and consequences, especially on children in particular and young people in general.”

Political context

Efforts to ban Barbie come amid growing anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiments in Lebanon.

Currently, Lebanon prohibits male same-sex sexual activity with up to one year’s imprisonment.

It also criminalises the gender expression of transgender people.

Similar bans

Kuwait has banned Barbie for similar reasons.

The Middle Eastern country says Barbie threatens Kuwait’s “public ethics and social traditions”.

According to the Ministry for Press and Publication, the film pushes “ideas and beliefs that are alien to the Kuwaiti society and public order”.

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