Warner Bros. defender Barbie moment that got the film banned in Vietnam. Starring Margot Robbie as the titular doll and Ryan Gosling as Ken, Barbie follows the couple as they leave Barbieland for the first time ever and enter the real world. Directed by Greta Gerwig, Barbie is one of the most anticipated films of the year. However, the comedy has already been banned overseas in Vietnam prior to its release due to a scene containing what is known as “nine-dash line.”
Talking to Varietyexplains Warner Bros. the controversial card that got Barbie banned in Vietnam and defends it in the context of the scene. According to the studio, the map is drawn from a child’s perspective and is not meant to be taken seriously. See what a spokesperson for Warner Bros. had to say below:
“The map in Barbie Land is a child-like crayon drawing. The doodles depict Barbie’s supposed journey from Barbie Land to the ‘real world’. It was not intended to make any kind of statement.”
Why Barbie is banned in Vietnam, explained
The scene in question sees Barbie standing in front of a “real world map” showing the line of nine lines. The controversial line represents China’s territorial claim along the South China Sea, sectioning off about 90 percent of it as its own. However, this is land that Vietnam also claims as theirs, as it was recognized in an international ruling in 2016 that China had no legitimate legal title to the land. However, China does not recognize this, leaving it a hotly debated topic to this day.
Vietnam’s ban on Barbie is not the first of its kind, like Tom Holland’s Uncharted received the same treatment from the country to depict the nine dashed line. The Philippines has also threatened to ban Barbie, as both countries claim, this portrayal threatens their sovereignty. Based on Warner Bros’ response, it’s clear that the scene is in no way intended to enter the political debate, as it’s a children’s crayon drawing, not an actual world map.
It remains to be seen Barbie‘s ban will greatly affect the film’s success upon release, as losses in certain international markets could result in lower global box office sales. Domestic, Barbie is on the way to an excellent run, so maybe the bans won’t be too much of a concern. It appears that Warner Bros. intends to keep the scene in the film given its innocent and cartoonish nature. Unless Vietnam takes its context into account, this could mean Barbie ban will follow the debut later this month.