It has been reported that Officials from the Lebanese Government are investigating the effect that the Hit TV Show ‘Homeland’ may have on their country.
In an interview with Executive Magazine, the Minister for Tourism in Lebanon, Fady Abboud stated, “This kind of film damages the image of Lebanon – it is not fair to us and it’s not true, it is not portraying reality”. He added, “We want to take action, we want to write to the filmmakers and producers and demand an apology. And we are planning to raise a lawsuit against the director and the producer.”
Homeland has received numerous awards and now has millions of viewers all over the world. With further audience reach , the potentially damaging effect it could have on how people perceive Lebanon is concerning to its Officials.
Abboud has invested a considerable amount of money into building up the City of Beirut, with a goal of showing the world that it is on a par with Paris, London and New York. As a result, Abboud is not only addressing the situation in his Official capacity and has stated, “he will take action personally, if necessary”. A call to action has also taken place, with Abboud seeking the assistance of Lebanese Citizens to “do what they need to do; to write blogs, to call the BBC and CNN to try to raise awareness that Beirut is not a city of Kalashnikov and war.”
This legal pursuit is coming with its fair share of problems for Abboud. As this story unfolds, acts of terror are in fact taking place in Beirut. A fatal car bomb in the City on Friday was targeted at women and children, in a predominantly Christian district.
It will also be very difficult to argue about the show filming in one place and portraying it as another in a storyline. It is common practice in the Industry in fictional shows. As Homeland is not a documentary and is clearly a fictional series, it means it is ‘make believe’ and not in fact true, and the Producers are not making claims to the contrary.
So where in fact can a line be drawn in this instance? You have a Foreign City’s Official asking for a Top TV Show to write storylines which are true in a fictional script, and for the same TV Show to film the scenes in a City which is experiencing real life acts of terror.
Another perspective is that this seemingly patriotic gesture by Abboud may have something to with the following statement he made, “We would like to welcome the crews here to film in this city – we were offended by the fact that they filmed the thing in Israel and said it was Beirut.” He further added that he wants to see more film crews shooting in Lebanon.
Perhaps this is just a simple case of wanting to receive recognition and hoping to help Lebanon to become more prevalent in Film Industry. Then a considerate request, by Abboud, of the goal would save a lot of time and resources and we can all then ‘get on with the show.”