Lebanese authorities are set to ban Steven Spielberg's upcoming film The Post, an American political thriller, citing a "boycott Israel" list which the renowned American director is a part of.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, a source involved with the film's international screening explained that the decision to ban the film came after it was presented to the Lebanese censorship board. The decision was approved just days before the film was set to premiere across cinemas in the country on January 18.
The decision has been transferred to Lebanon's Minister of Interior and Municipalities, who could "overturn the decision," according to Hollywood Reporter.
The film - featuring Meryl Steep and Tom Hanks - had initially passed the government's screening procedures. However, following pressure by the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon (CBSIL), the decision to ban the film became solid, a source told Annahar.
Spielberg was first blacklisted by the Lebanese government following the release of his 1994 film "Schindler's List"
Spielberg, who comes from a Jewish family, was first blacklisted by the Lebanese government following the release of his 1994 film "Schindler's List" which details the story of a businessman who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
In 2010, the American director, producer, and screenwriter was blacklisted by the Arab League's Central Boycott office after it was revealed that Spielberg made a $1 million donation to Israel during the 2006 war in Lebanon.
Not all of Spielberg's films have been banned
Lea Baroudi, the president of March Lebanon told The Daily Star, that she can't help but see the "hypocrisy of the imminent 'Post' ban," citing Spielberg films that the Lebanese government had approved for screening in the past three years.
At least five films - directed or produced by Spielberg - screened in Lebanon following approval by the censorship board during the past three years, including "Bridge of Spies" and "Transformers," to name a few.
To further highlight the inconsistencies behind such decisions, Baroudi explained that the 2017 film "'The Zookeeper's Wife' was screened despite its Holocaust-centered plot," according to The Daily Star.
"If Spielberg is being penalized for a [Holocaust] movie he directed about 25 years ago, why is this new film allowed to pass?" Baroudi asked.
"So first, we need to highlight the inconsistencies with censorship in Lebanon and then its absurdity. There is nothing about this movie that [warrants] it being banned. It’s kind of alarming and that’s why we need to raise our voices to prevent this from happening."
Mixed reactions on social media
The announcement drew mixed reactions from people on the interwebs.
While some hailed the decision as an act of solidarity with the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, others criticized the country's ongoing censorship of the film industry.
"What an achievement"
"The nonsensical yet dangerous appetite for censorship in Lebanon continues"
"Censorship hits yet again in Lebanon and for the most ridiculous reasons"
"Let’s hope this doesn’t happen because I’ve had it with this country"
"Wonder Woman" was banned in Lebanon 2017
In 2017, American superhero film Wonder Woman was officially banned in the country following a decision by a six-member Ministry of Economy committee.
The film was banned for featuring actress Gal Gadot, who is not only Israeli but also a strong supporter of the Israeli army and its crimes against Palestinians.