Lebanon has announced a potential ban on Barbie due to the film “promoting homosexuality”.

On 21 July, movie enthusiasts in the UK were finally treated to the highly anticipated fantasy comedy. 

Directed by Greta Gerwig, the film follows a “stereotypical” Barbie (Margot Robbie) who resides in Barbieland, a matriarchal society where women are self-sufficient and occupy all positions of power.

After Barbie begins to worry about her mortality, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery into the real world – assisted by her “stereotypical” himbo boyfriend Ken (Ryan Gosling).

Since its release, Barbie has received universal acclaim from viewers and critics for its inclusive and diverse cast, empowering feminist message and Robbie’s performance as the titular character. 

While various fans worldwide have praised the film, it has also received pushback from government officials in Lebanon and Kuwait, resulting in proposed bans in the respective countries. 

According to Rolling Stone, Kuwait reached their decision on 9 August, after they decided that the film showcases “ideas and beliefs that are alien to the Kuwaiti society and public order.” 

As for Lebanon, the country’s culture minister Mohammad Mortada claimed that Barbie “promotes homosexuality and sexual transformation” and “contradicts values of faith and morality.” 


While Barbie features an array of LGBTQ+ actors and various queer-coded moments and characters, it is not a film that features canon LGBTQ+ storylines.

Barbie isn’t the first film to face censorship and push back in the two conservative countries. 

Earlier this year, the critically acclaimed slasher flick Scream 6 was blocked from premiering in Lebanon due to its inclusion of openly LGBTQ+ characters.

On 4 August, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Kuwait banned the A24 horror film Talk to Me due to the film featuring openly trans actor Zoe Terakes. 

“I’ve been wondering how to respond to this. Whether it deserves the dignity of a response,” they wrote on Instagram in response to the ban.

“This isn’t the first film Kuwait has banned. If there are queer or trans themes or scenes in your film, it’s probably not gonna make it to the Gulf. Which is devastating and terrifying in its own right.

“Our film doesn’t actually ever mention my transness, or my queerness. I am a trans actor who happened to get the role. I’m not a theme. I’m a person.”

While Barbie will most likely be banned in Lebanon and Kuwait, it did receive a release in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on 10 August after Warner Bros made additional edits to the film.