The Philippines has cleared the release of the «Barbie» movie following calls to ban the show over a controversial map of China’s «nine-dash line.»
The decision came after the film review board concluded that the map was «cartoonish» and that there was a failure to depict a controversial feature of the map that China uses to claim large swathes of the disputed South China Sea.
Warner Bros.’ «Barbie» is unexpectedly becoming one of the most controversial movie releases this summer after Vietnam last week banned Greta Gerwig’s comic fantasy production of the famous doll.
The promotional trailers reportedly featured a scene showing the «nine-dash line,» a map feature China uses to justify its territorial claims over the vast majority of the South China Sea.
«Considering the context in which the cartoon map of the character ‘Weird Barbie’ was portrayed in the film, the review committee is satisfied that the controversial scene does not represent the ‘nine dash line,'» said the Philippine Film and Television Review and Classification Board he said in a statement on Wednesday.
He said the decision was made after the film was reviewed twice and foreign affairs officials and legal experts were consulted.
The Philippine board has requested that Warner Bros. «blur controversial lines to prevent further misinterpretation,» according to media reports.
In 2016, an international court in The Hague ruled against China after the Philippines filed a complaint over the disputed waterway, but tensions remain as Beijing continues to reject that verdict.
Other places in Asia, including Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, have protested China’s ongoing and persistent construction of various ground facilities since then to intensify its land grab. The disputed South China Sea is a crucial trade route that is rich in minerals, through which trillions of dollars in maritime trade pass annually.
«The map in Barbie Land is a child’s crayon drawing,» a Warner Bros. Film Group spokesperson said. he told Variety last week, in response to the Vietnam ban. “The doodles represent Barbie’s fictional journey from Barbie Land to the ‘real world.’ She did not intend to make any kind of statement.»
The Philippine film authorities may have accepted this argument, but they also issued a warning.
“The Board strongly advises all filmmakers, producers, and distributors that it will not hesitate to penalize and/or ban films that exhibit the ‘nine-dash line’ as being contrary to the law,” the review board said in its statement.
The film stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, who embark on a journey of self-discovery after their expulsion from utopian Barbie Land.