‘Wonder Woman’ Banned in Lebanon Due to Israeli Lead Gal Gadot

'Wonder Woman' Banned in Lebanon Due
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

ROME – Lebanon officially banned “Wonder Woman” on Wednesday roughly two hours before the film was scheduled to screen in the country’s movie theaters.

The ban was prompted by a group called Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel – Lebanon, which pressured the government in Beirut to block the movie because lead actress Gal Gadot is Israeli. Lebanon is officially at war with Israel.

Related

Wonder Woman twitter

Film Review: ‘Wonder Woman’

The “Wonder Woman” ban was announced on the official Twitter feed of Lebanon’s Grand Cinemas and confirmed by several other sources.

The decision was taken by a six-member committee of the Ministry of Economy. The ban is somewhat surprising because the film had already gone through Lebanon’s regular censorship process and because the same anti-Israeli organization had failed to persuade the Lebanese government to pull “Batman v. Superman,” in which Gadot also stars.

Also, a sneak preview of “Wonder Woman” on Tuesday evening, ahead of its premiere Wednesday, went off without incident.

The ban immediately drew ridicule from some within Lebanon, including popular blogger Elie Fares. “Can you also ban Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Viber, Starbucks, all smartphones and laptops?” Fares tweeted.

In his blog, Fares added: “Resist what? A movie about an iconic superhero who’s been part of pop culture for over 70 years. A movie in which the lead actress happens to be Israeli.”

There was no immediate comment from Vox Cinemas, a regional exhibitor that was set to release the film in Lebanon, or from Joseph Chakra & Sons, the licensee for Warner Bros. titles in the country.

The impact on box office of the “Wonder Woman” ban in Lebanon is expected to be negligible overall since it’s creating additional publicity for the film in the rest of the region and also internationally.

Lebanon, which has been officially at war with Israel for decades, has a law that encourages boycotts of Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling to Israel or having contacts with Israelis.

On its Facebook page, the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel – Lebanon said that Gadot was a soldier in the Israeli army and had praised Israel’s military actions during the 2014 war in Gaza.

However, many other films starring Gadot, including “Fast & Furious 6,” “Furious 7,” “Triple 9,” and “Knight & Day,” played in Lebanon and were box-office hits there.

Alaa Karkouti, a Cairo-based film analyst, said he did not expect the Lebanese ban to affect the release of “Wonder Woman” elsewhere in the Arab world. At this point, “Wonder Woman” is scheduled to roll out in the Gulf on June 1, in Morocco on June 8, and in Egypt shortly after June 24, the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In Egypt, foreign movies rarely play during Ramadan, and in any case, Egypt has a peace treaty with Israel. Politics are not expected to come into play in Morocco either. It is scheduled for release June 22 in Oman and June 29 in Bahrain.

Karkouti criticized the ban as “really out of order because it’s not about content.”

“It’s not an Israeli actress in a film about Israel or about a sensitive political issue,” he said. “If this is Lebanon’s policy, then Lebanon should also stop participating in international film festivals where Israeli films are shown.”

Censorship has been getting tighter in Lebanon recently. Earlier this year, Egyptian director Magdi Ahmed Ali’s “The Preacher” (“Mawlana”), a critique of corruption and fundamentalism, was initially banned, then allowed to be shown only after cuts were made.

In 2013, the Lebanese government heeded a call by the Arab League to ban Lebanese-born filmmaker Ziad Doueiri’s “The Attack” because it was shot in Israel. As a result, the film was “massively pirated across Lebanon where the DVD was prominently showcased and sold in all major pirate DVD stores there,” says the film’s Middle East distributor Gianluca Chakra, head of Dubai-based Front Row Entertainment.

“Did they actually stop people from watching the film? Absolutely not,” he said.

Elsa Keslassy contributed to this report

 

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 23

Leave a Reply

23 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Gal is super says:

    If the Lebanese do not want to see Gal they can see Mia

  2. Apartheid state says:

    I’m Lebanese and I can assure you that the reason is that Gadot is a proud zionist who has served in the IDF. The IDF has repeatedly occupied Lebanese land, as well as committed heinous war crimes against innocent Palestinian families and continues to do so. Gadot supports that apartheid state and its ethnic cleansing, bombing, and massacring. You want to call us unprogressive? Look at your own POTUS before talking. Look into what the state your country is so proudly allied with manipulates you into thinking it is a Human Rights pioneer. Read up about the many times the UN wanted to call out war crimes committed by Israel, but was unable to do so because of the US veto that is influenced by American politicians bribed by AIPAC.

    • P Smith says:

      Imagine if Godot were Russian and defending the atrocities against LGBT people in Chechnya. It would be no different than her defense of the Israeli Terrorist Force (ITF) and war crimes it commits (e.g. bombing Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure in 2006 instead of targeting Hamas).

      I bet she owns a “one shot, two kills” t-shirt.

  3. alexander downey says:

    who cares if these backwards clowns ban it or not it will do amazing and deserves to. these people just hate women and really are sick loathsome individuals.

    • Robin says:

      That is not the reason this movie was banned. It’s the fact the Gal Gadot is a former IDF and condoned the killing of civilians during Protective Edge. Not to mention she supports their ethnic cleansing, bombing, and massacring. It has nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman but her former IDF status.

      And, if you actually educated yourself, you would know that Lebanon is actually one of the more liberal leaning and progressive Islamic countries. That’s why so many were shocked by the ban.

    • Buy Lust For Life on iTunes says:

      you racist scum. That movie was banned because of legitimate and justified political and humanitarian reasons. Women in Lebanon enjoy more equality and rights than those in the rest of the Middle East. Other women-led films did amazingly here.

      • A man says:

        “Women in Lebanon enjoy more equality and rights than those in the rest of… Middle East”… For a second there I thought I was gonna laugh. Sounds like you arent too ambitious for gender equality. Being happy they dont get stoned when raped isnt the current goal for WOMEN in the world. Get up to date.

  4. I don’t think it was because she is Israeli so much as because she is former IDF and condoned the killing of civilians during Protective Edge in 2014, which was a brutal massacre where over 1,500 civilians died, almost 500 of whom were children. I couldn’t care less about her heritage, but my conscience makes me hesitant to support this film if someone with such views stands to benefit from it.

    • davesgk says:

      Here is her actual tweet:

      “I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens. Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children…We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom!”

      She isn’t condoning killing anyone. She is placing blame on Hamas for the situation, but that is a matter of debate, and clearly not the same as condoning the killing of civilians.

    • Dan says:

      I find your comment quite ignorant. Gaza is rulled by Hamas – an Islamic group which holds simillar ideas to ISIS. for example, to kill all jews around the world; to destroy Israel. Hamas kills its own people – if they dare to oppose it – and do it without trial. they throw gays off the roofs, they use all the resources to built tunnels toward Israel land, while civilians are starving.
      and the war of 2014 started with HAMAS launch thousands of missles over Israel.
      check the facts my friend. you can read in Wikipedia.
      and you see whats going on in the world with the Islamic terrorism. all over the world. and you still blame Israel? What else need to be happened in order you face REALITY?

    • Peter Myers says:

      WHO CARES IF A TINPOT COUNTRY BANS IT? NO SKIN OFF THE STUDIO’S TEETH.

  5. Lisa says:

    No, it was banned because, for the first time in modern history, a film is screening specifically to women-only audiences. This is not congruent with the archaic culture and view of women of some middle eastern countries.

    • Peter Myers says:

      THE PROBLEM IS ISRAEL WAS SETTLED BY GERMANS IN THE 19TH CENTURY WHEN IT WAS STILL PALESTINE. GERMANS ARE MILITARISTIC, AGGRESSIVE AND RUTHLESS. BAD COMBO. AND SO ARE THE ISRAELIS. PLUS THEY ARE TOO MUCH LIKE THE BARBARIC ARABS AS WELL. SO PART GERMAN/PART ARAB? BOTH CULTURES HAVE RUBBED OFF TOO MUCH ON THEM. FORGET ABOUT IT. THEY SUCK.

    • Mark says:

      That was an impressively stupid comment.

    • John says:

      No, you idiot. It’s because this Lebanese group are anti-Semitic. Sure, the Middle East has archaic ways of thinking, especially when it pertains to women, but this is fueled by anti-Semitism.

  6. justkelly says:

    “Lebanon, which has been officially at war with Lebanon for decades”

    Not sure if typo or hidden truth…

  7. RX says:

    Ahh, religion. Such a wonderful thing.

    • LLN says:

      I dont know where you are from, but the US is one of the most religious places ever :(. No US President has ever been elected without proclaiming being a good Christian… Even Barack had to pretend he cared about some Superman in the sky. I bet societies will judge us as Barbaric in not even a couple hundreds of years for being so stupid. If God existed, it would have to be an all powerful, benevolent, care for all God. Then only Good would exist in this world. Clearly it is not the case, and clearly there is no Superman in the Sky… Now maybe it was a Wonder Woman in the sky all along…. :)

  8. Kayla M says:

    “Lebanon, which is officially at war with Lebanon” may want to edit.

More Film News from Variety

Loading