Just hours before the female-driven superhero movie was set to premiere in Beirut, Lebanese officials banned the film because lead actress, Gal Gadot, is Israeli and served in the nation’s military. The two countries have been at war since 2006 and share a longstanding history of conflict.
The ban was reportedly issued by the Minister of Interior and falls in line with Lebanese law, which boycotts Israeli products and prevents citizens from travelling to Israel or having contact with Israeli citizens. However, Gadot’s recent films, including Fast and Furious and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, have previously screened in the country. Speaking to the Associated Press, Economy Ministry official Alia Abbas said that her department, which issued the boycott, had petitioned to ban Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice last year, but it didn’t come through in time.
— Grand Cinemas (@GCLebanon) May 31, 2017
Lebanese company Grand Cinemas announced the Wonder Woman ban on Twitter on Wednesday—two hours before the film was scheduled to screen in 15 cinemas across the country. Theatres responded quickly by beginning to remove movie posters of the film. That same day, the front page of Beirut newspaper al-Akhbar featured a column titled, “The Israeli soldier. She has no place in Lebanon,” along with a photo of Gadot in full Wonder Woman costume.
The actress has yet to publicly comment on the ban but recently made it clear on how she deals with adversity. “I don’t enjoy conflict in my life,” she said in an interview for Marie Claire‘s June 2017 issue. “Unlike Wonder Woman, I’m not a fighter, but I will fight for good.”