IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Where is 'Barbie' banned? What to know about the controversy

Kuwait and Vietnam have banned the film, while Lebanon has moved to bar the film from theaters.
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in "Barbie".
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in "Barbie".Warner Bros. Pictures
/ Source: TODAY

As the "Barbie" craze spreads across the globe, there are some countries that have either banned or moved to prohibit the release of the billion-dollar film.

The film, directed by Greta Gerwig, has grossed more than $459 million domestically and $572 million internationally -- the fastest film to do so at Warner Bros., the studio said on Aug. 6.

But not every country worldwide will allow its residents to see the film. Kuwait and Vietnam have banned "Barbie" from playing in theaters, and Lebanon's culture minister has requested for the film to be banned, according to the Associated Press.

Here's what to know about the controversy:


Kuwait banned "Barbie" on Aug. 9, according to the Associated Press, citing a statement from state-run news agency KUNA, which said the film promoted "ideas and beliefs that are alien to the Kuwaiti society and public order," without further elaboration.


While Lebanon has not yet banned "Barbie," the country's Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada said the film was found to "contradict values of faith and morality" and "promote homosexuality and sexual transformation," according to the Associated Press.

Mortada requested to ban the film, and the request was forwarded to Lebanon’s General Security agency to make a final decision.

"Barbie" doesn't contain any instances of homosexuality, but some of the cast members are openly gay and transgender, and the LGBTQ+ community has heralded the film.

Warner Bros., the studio behind "Barbie," did not immediately respond to a request for comment from on the moves from Lebanon and Kuwait.


Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced it would ban the movie last month, Reuters reported, citing state media.

The move came after a scene from the movie showed Margot Robbie standing in front of a cartoon-ish, hand-drawn map of the world.

The map depicted the controversial U-shaped "nine-dash line" that illustrates China's territorial claim over much of the South China Sea. China's claim has been rejected by international law and has been disputed by several Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam.

"We do not grant license for the American movie 'Barbie' to release in Vietnam because it contains the offending image of the nine-dash line," state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on July 3, citing Vi Kien Thanh, head of the Department of Cinema, a government body in charge of licensing and censoring foreign films.

Warner Bros. responded to the ban in a statement on July 7, saying in a statement the map was not political.

"The map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing," Warner Bros. said. "The doodles depict Barbie’s make-believe journey from Barbie Land to the 'real world.' It was not intended to make any type of statement."