Barbie row: Warner Bros responds after Vietnam bans film over disputed map scene | Hollywood - Hindustan Times

Barbie row: Warner Bros responds after Vietnam bans Margot Robbie-Ryan Gosling film over disputed map scene

Jul 07, 2023 02:52 PM IST

Directed by Greta Gerwig, Barbie was earlier set to hit theatres in Vietnam on July 21. The film stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, among many others.

Warner Bros' has responded after its highly-anticipated movie Barbie sparked controversy and was banned in Vietnam over a specific scene showing a disputed map. As per a new report, after facing backlash, a spokesperson for the Warner Bros Film Group said that the scene didn't 'intend to make any type of statement'. Directed by Greta Gerwig, the film stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in the lead roles. (Also Read | Barbie Movie faces potential ban in another country amidst controversial scene)

Margot Robbie in a scene from Barbie.
Margot Robbie in a scene from Barbie.

How the row over a scene in Barbie started

The film has a scene, as per Variety, that depicts a map with the "nine dash line". It is a representation of China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, which Vietnam said that it violates its sovereignty. The particular map scene led to the film's ban in Vietnam. The film was set to hit theatres in Vietnam on July 21, aligning with its big-screen release in most countries around the world.

What has Warner Bros said

Speaking with Variety, the Warner Bros spokesperson said, "The map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing. 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." The childlike map, with scribbles and a hashtag, drew the attention of Vietnam earlier this week. The said scene has a board with the world map roughly drawn on it. Next to Asia, there are only eight lines and not in shape at par with official global maps.

Why Vietnam chose to ban Barbie

News agency ANI quoted Vietnam state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper citing the head Department of Cinema Vi Kien Thanh as saying, "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." Vi Kien Thanh said the decision was decided by Vietnam's National Film Evaluation Council.

Row has erupted earlier too

This is not the first time the inclusion of the nine-dash line has stirred controversy in the cinematic scene. In the past, the MTRCB blocked the release of the film Uncharted in the Philippines due to similar concerns. In 2019, DreamWorks' Abominable was banned for the same reason.

TV series Put Your Head On My Shoulder and Madam Secretary was told to delete certain scenes containing the map in 2020. Netflix had to remove the Australian spy drama Pine Gap from streaming in Vietnam in 2021, as per New York Post.

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