Lebanon’s Minister of Culture has taken measures to prohibit the movie “Barbie” in cinemas due to concerns over its perceived promotion of homosexuality and its clash with religious values. This decision is supported by the powerful Shiite armed group Hezbollah, led by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who has expressed strong opposition to the LGBT community. Kuwait has also banned the film for similar reasons.
Lebanon, historically a relatively safe haven for the LGBT community in the conservative Middle East, has faced recent challenges. Bans on events “promoting sexual perversion” and calls for action against materials endorsing homosexuality have caused tensions. Nasrallah has urged strict measures against content he sees as promoting homosexuality, advocating for their prohibition. He considers homosexuality a significant threat to Lebanon’s social fabric, suggesting severe consequences, even capital punishment, for same-sex relationships, regardless of marital status.
Lebanon’s cabinet, following discussions with prominent Christian figure Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, has encouraged adherence to traditional family values. Although not explicitly targeting the LGBT community, this statement has raised concerns about its potential implications.
Ayman Mhanna, from the non-profit Samir Kassir Foundation, is worried about these recent actions, describing them as part of a broader pattern of prejudice. He points to a convergence of forces, including Hezbollah, the far-right Christian faction, and influential religious leaders, suggesting a coordinated campaign against the LGBT community, which he sees as a worrying wave of intolerance.
The movie “Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, has been immensely successful, surpassing $1 billion in global box office sales since its release on July 21. The film portrays the adventures of Mattel Inc’s iconic doll as she navigates the real world.