While Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman continues to harness big box office around the globe, the film has also come up against political and religious issues in some parts of the world. After being banned in Lebanon because star Gal Gadot is Israeli, the DC warrior’s debut in Tunisia has now been suspended.
According to reports, the Tunisian Culture Minister has taken steps to suspend the film, which was due to preview tonight in one cinema in the capital city of Tunis, after a request by Arab nationalist political party the People’s Movement. A similar demand by an association of young lawyers was, however, rejected.
This is all said to stem from Gadot’s 2014 defense of Israel during the war with Gaza that summer. Wonder Woman was due to roll out in Tunisia at least two cinemas beginning Thursday.
The People’s Movement party said in a statement, “We must continue the mobilization on this type of affair, as on everything related to normalization with the Zionist entity.” The group’s Facebook page leads with news of the Wonder Woman situation.
Per Europe1, a spokesperson for the Tunisian Culture Minister said the request for an operating visa was filed two days ago, rather than with a typical eight-day delay and characterized the cancellation of tonight’s screening as “purely administrative.” Distributor Lassaad Goubantini had another take, saying, “It’s a decision based on bogus accusations… Today they prevent a film because of an actress, tomorrow they’ll invent another excuse. It’s an attack on liberties.”
Wonder Woman was also taken off the schedule of a film festival in Algeria where it was originally due to premiere on June 8. However, the deprogramming of WW at the Nuits du Cinéma fest is said to be the result of a rights issue. Organizers of the festival, which takes place in Alger, told AFP that the cancellation of the screening was not tied to Gadot’s presence and that the movie would be re-programmed “once the administrative constraints related to the exhibition rights have been sorted,” said a spokesperson. Algeria’s Culture Minister had already issued an import license for the Patty Jenkins-helmed hit which grossed $228.1M in its maiden voyage last weekend worldwide.
Still, an online petition has circulated in the largely Muslim country since last week. Titled, “Non! Pas en Algérie” (No, Not in Algeria), it says Gadot has “glorified” an attack on Gaza and that the signatories consider it “unacceptable” that the June 8 screening would fall within the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Gaza during the Six Days War.
In Lebanon, Wonder Woman‘s banning was prompted by Lebanese group Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon. Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and has a law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling to Israel or having contact with Israelis.