Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling’s Barbie Film Banned in Vietnam Over South China Sea Map

Prashant Kumar

Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling’s Barbie Film Banned in Vietnam Over South China Sea Map

Vietnam has recently made headlines in the entertainment industry by banning the release of a Barbie film featuring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling due to its depiction of a controversial map of the South China Sea. The decision by Vietnamese authorities has sparked debates on the intersection of politics, entertainment, and territorial disputes.

 Warner Bros’s Barbie film ban due to a scene that depicts a map featuring China’s unilaterally claimed territory in the South China Sea, according to state media reports.

The disputed region in question involves the “nine-dash line,” a U-shaped demarcation China uses on its maps to assert its sovereignty over vast areas of the South China Sea, including portions that Vietnam considers part of its continental shelf, where it has granted oil concessions.

This prohibition of the Barbie film marks the latest instance of Vietnam banning movies that depict China’s contentious nine-dash line, invalidated by an international arbitration ruling from the Hague in 2016. China, however, refuses to accept the ruling.

In previous years, the Vietnamese government had taken similar actions by pulling DreamWorks’ animated film “Abominable” in 2019 and banning Sony’s action movie “Uncharted” in the past year, all due to the inclusion of the controversial nine-dash line. Furthermore, for the same reason, Netflix removed the Australian spy drama “Pine Gap” from its platform in 2021.

These incidents highlight Vietnam’s sensitivity towards territorial disputes and its determination to prevent any form of endorsement or acceptance of China’s claims in the South China Sea. 

The ban on the Barbie film serves as another example of how geopolitical tensions can transcend into entertainment, prompting nations to take proactive measures to safeguard their interests and territorial integrity.

The South China Sea Dispute

The South China Sea has long been a contention among several Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. The dispute revolves around territorial claims, fishing rights, resource exploitation, and region navigation freedom. 

China, claiming historical rights to the area, has constructed artificial islands and military facilities, raising concerns among neighbouring countries and garnering international attention.

Vietnam’s Perspective

As other claimant states in the South China Sea dispute, Vietnam has a vested interest in asserting its territorial claims. The Vietnamese government has consistently emphasised its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands, and any depiction of these disputed areas can be seen as a challenge to its position.

 Vietnamese authorities argue that releasing the Barbie film with the controversial map could undermine their territorial integrity and weaken their stance in ongoing negotiations and diplomatic efforts.

Chilling Effect on Filmmakers

The ban sends a clear signal to filmmakers and studios about the importance of being mindful of geopolitical sensitivities when producing content. In an interconnected world, a seemingly innocent or apolitical creative choice can inadvertently lead to significant repercussions and affect a movie’s international release.

Leave a Comment