Kuwait bans Barbie movie over ‘public ethics’ concerns

Kuwaiti authorities have announced that the popular film “Barbie” has been prohibited from being shown in cinemas due to concerns related to “public ethics,” as a horror movie featuring a transgender actor has also been banned in the country, officials have confirmed.

Kuwait’s cinema censorship committee, led by Lafy Al-Subei’e, has stated that both “Barbie” and “Talk to Me” films convey ideas and beliefs that are inconsistent with Kuwaiti society and public order, as reported by the official KUNA news agency.

In its assessment of foreign movies, the committee typically instructs the censoring of scenes that go against public ethics, Subei’e said on Wednesday.

“But (if) a film carries alien concepts, message or unacceptable behaviour, the committee decides to bar the stuff in question as a whole,” he said.

Gulf Arab nations such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is prohibited, consistently practice film censorship for movies containing LGBTQ references.

In June, the latest Spider-Man animated film was banned by these nations, reportedly due to a scene featuring a transgender pride flag.

Nevertheless, “Barbie,” which has earned over $1 billion globally, is currently being screened in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain.

In Lebanon, Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada announced on Wednesday that he had requested authorities to prohibit “Barbie” due to alleged “promotion of homosexuality,” even though the movie does not feature any explicit references to same-sex relationships or LGBTQ+ themes.

“Talk to Me,” which is currently being screened in theaters in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, includes Australian transgender actor Zoe Terakes, yet does not contain any direct LGBTQ+ references.

“Our film doesn’t have queer themes,” Terakes said in a statement posted on social media on Sunday, after the ban was first reported.

“I am a trans actor who happened to get the role. I’m not a theme. I’m a person,” added Terakes who identifies as non-binary.

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