Lebanon has banned Wonder Woman from its theaters. It was scheduled to open there tonight, but the nation’s largest theater chain announced the ban on Twitter.
— Grand Cinemas Lebanon (@GCLebanon) May 31, 2017
The reason for the ban? Wonder Woman’s star, Gal Gadot, is Israeli and, like all Israelis, served in the country’s military. From the NY Times:
Among the most vocal supporters for a ban was the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon. On its Facebook page, the group singled out Ms. Gadot’s mandated service in the Israeli army and a 2014 Facebook post in which the actress said she was praying for Israeli citizens caught up in the Gaza conflict, and also that she decried “the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children.”
Al Jazeera says the decision was made by Lebanon’s Interior Ministry:
An interior ministry source said on Wednesday it had issued an order to ban the movie, which stars former Israeli army soldier Gal Gadot, based on a recommendation from the General Security directorate…
In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Economy said that it had asked the General Security directorate to prevent screenings of Wonder Woman owing to Gadot’s role in the film.
Israel fought a month-long war with its Lebanese foe Hezbollah in 2006, and has targeted the Iran-backed armed group with strikes in Syria in recent years, but there has been no major direct confrontation.
I don’t suppose this will do much damage to the bottom line of the film as it was only opening in 15 theaters. But it will be interesting to see if the sentiment spreads to other countries in the Middle East where the film is being shown.
Personally, I wasn’t really looking forward to this, not because of any political or social issues but because I really didn’t like Man of Steel very much. It was let down by a few bad choices, especially the writer’s weird take on Jonathan Kent and the extended (and very stupid) destruction of Metropolis. Batman vs. Superman had some good moments but was spoiled once again by a lengthy and terrible CGI battle at the end, plus what felt like rushed set up for future films. The extended version of the film released for home viewing was significantly better. Now that many positive reviews are coming in, I’m cautiously optimistic about Wonder Woman.