(Kuwait) Kuwait has banned the release in its cinemas of the global hit Barbie for “undermining public morals”, the authorities of this very conservative Gulf oil state announced on Thursday.
Several major American productions have been met with unease in the Middle East in recent months, amid the growing visibility of gay and transgender people in Hollywood.
“The broadcasting of the Barbie and Talk to me films has been banned”, announced Lafi Subaïei, chairman of the film censorship committee, quoted by the official Kuna news agency.
This body linked to the Ministry of Media is keen to “prohibit everything that undermines public morals, public order and traditions, by introducing foreign ideas into society”, he said. added.
Before making their decision, the authorities had asked for the “removal of certain obscene scenes encouraging unacceptable behavior”, he assured, without giving details on the passages in question.
As Barbie surpassed $1 billion at the global box office, Kuwaiti censorship will apply to “any film that contravenes the values and traditions of our society,” the official said.
On Wednesday, Lebanon’s culture minister announced that he had called for Barbie to be banned, saying it “promoted homosexuality”, amid anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other) rhetoric. growing in one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East.
The main distributor in Kuwait announced on Monday the ban by the authorities of Talk to me. The Australian horror film stars Zoe Terakes, a transgender actor who identifies as non-binary, but contains no explicit reference to the LGBT movement. On social media, Zoé Terakes called the decision “dehumanizing” and “targeted”.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Barbie and Talk to me are currently playing in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These two countries had however also banned films containing LGBT references. In June, the animated film Spider-Man was banned there, because of a scene which they said featured a transgender flag.
Barbie is still not airing in Qatar, which however has not made any official announcement about it.