Lebanon’s minister of the economy says that Wonder Woman isn’t welcome in his country, and he plans to create a proposal to ban the film from Lebanon because the star of the film is Israeli.
The Wonder Woman movie, based on the DC comic book heroine, has drawn a surprising amount of ire, domestically, as feminists, movie buffs, and comic book fans battle over what the film will mean for the future of female-driven entertainment. But lost in the conversation has been Wonder Woman‘s international reception, which includes a fair amount of ire over star Gal Gadot’s Israeli heritage.
In Lebanon, Gadot’s citizenship is rankling government officials so badly, they’ve decided to begin the process of banning the film. Lebanon is technically at war with Israel, and the government does not allow the Lebanese to purchase or consume any Israeli products, communicate with or travel to Israel.
To ban Wonder Woman, though, is quite an undertaking for the Lebanese. A six-member commission must agree to recommend that the movie be booted from theaters, and then Lebanon’s legislators must agree. Its not without precedent: already two movies have been banned in the country this year, and Lebanon has censored other films for content deemed “offensive” to its Muslim government.
Gal Gadot’s previous films weren’t censored.
And there is support: a Facebook group called Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon has staged a grassroots effort to move the proposal forward, citing Gadot’s service in the Israeli Defense Forces—she did the two-year stint required of all Israelis before going on to become Miss Israel—and her support of her brothers in arms during the 2014 conflict in Gaza as proof she’s a problem.
Fortunately for Wonder Woman, the fix may already be in. The movie comes out internationally Wednesday night, and at least one movie theater in Lebanon’s capitol city of Beirut is planning a screening (they’re even offering free popcorn).
This isn’t the first time, though, that Gadot’s heritage has affected reception of the film. Back in July of last year, Gadot and Warner Brothers, who produced the film, came under fire, when progressive social justice warriors discovered that she supported Israel’s right to exist, calling her a “Zionist” and hurling anti-Semitic slurs at the star on social media, and trying to foment a boycott for the film.
Of course, now that Wonder Woman represents the pinnacle achievement of feminism, they’ve changed their minds.