Saudi Arabia, other ME countries, delay Barbie opening over LGBT themes

The film may not be screened at all in countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, or Egypt, since edits to LGBT themes are unlikely to be accepted by the studio.

By World Israel News Staff

Screenings of Warner Bros.’ blockbuster, Barbie, has been postponed throughout the Middle East over requests by local censors to remove alleged LGBTQ references from the film.

One of the Barbies in Barbieworld is played by transgender actress Hari Nef.

Despite praise from several LGBTQ publications, the film’s main actor Margot Robbie has noted that Barbie and Ken “don’t actually have sexual orientations because they don’t have any reproductive organs.”

Regional distributor Vox Cinemas deferred the regional release of the film, originally scheduled for July 19, to August 31 as debates about possible edits continue, according to Variety magazine. The film may not be screened at all in countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, or Egypt, since edits to LGBTQ themes are likely not to be accepted by the studio.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also recently banned the animated film “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” due to its potential exploration of transgender themes. This comes even after Saudi Arabia lifted its over 35-year ban on public cinemas in 2017, which had been imposed under pressure from Islamists.

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In Israel, Barbie recorded the highest opening weekend gross globally for a film directed by a woman, and the largest opening weekend box office of the year.