Kuwait has suspended screening the Barbie movie in all theaters nationwide over what it calls concerns about “public ethics.”
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Information's Committee on Cinematic Censorship made the decision to ban the American comedy by Warner Bros. on Wednesday, Kuwait's official news agency KUNA reported.
Barbie is the second-highest-grossing film of 2023. It has made well over $1 billion in box office ticket sales worldwide.
The committee also banned another movie. The Australian supernatural horror film Talk to Me has been barred on similar grounds.
According to Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information for Press and Publication Lafy Al-Subei'e, the decision was made in order to "protect public ethics and social traditions."
"The Committee noted that both movies promulgate ideas and beliefs that are alien to the Kuwaiti society and public order," said Al-Subei'e late Wednesday. Subei'e is also the head of the committee.
In order to make foreign movies meet ethical standards for screening in Kuwait, he said, the committee usually orders "censoring of the scenes that run counter to public ethics." However, he added, if a film "carries alien concepts, message or unacceptable behavior, the committee decides to bar the stuff in question as a whole."
Earlier on Wednesday, Lebanon’s Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada said the American movie was found to "promote homosexuality and sexual transformation" and it "contradicts values of faith and morality" by diminishing the importance of the family institution.
Barbie is temporarily banned in Lebanon, but it will be screened, after being censored, in cinemas nationwide from August 31.
Iraq bans media from using term ‘homosexuality’
In another development, the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC), in a statement on Tuesday, ordered all media and social media companies across the Arab country not to use the term "homosexuality."
Iraq's official media regulator also directed them to use the "correct term 'sexual deviance'" instead. The use of the term "gender" was also banned, according to the statement.
A penalty for violating the rule has not yet been set but it could include a fine, a government spokesperson told Reuters.