The award-winning Showtime drama "Homeland" has received a legal threat from Lebanon, with the country’s minister of tourism expressing outrage at Beirut’s portrayal by the show as a city filled with terrorists, reports the U.K.’s Telegraph.
The story was reported before Beirut was rocked Friday by a deadly car bombing. Reuters reports that at least eight people were killed in the attack.
Reporting on the "Homeland" story, the Telegraph quotes Lebanon tourism minister Fady Abboud saying: "We are following the case legally. I raised this at the cabinet meeting and the president asked the minister for justice and the minister of communications to see what can be done." Abboud called the show’s portrayal of Beirut a "serious misrepresentation."
"I am calling on all young Lebanese adults 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," he added, according the story.
Besides airing on Showtime, "Homeland" is also seen internationally. For example, in the U.K. it’s shown on Channel 4.
Abboud has been trying to promote the image of Beirut as the Paris of the Middle East, the piece reports. “Homeland” may have caught his attention when it borrowed the phrase “Beirut Is Back,” which has been used to describe the city’s resurgence, as the title of a recent episode. The episode was filmed in neighboring Israel.
“In the show, Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, continuously dons the hair-covering hijab, but women in the part of Beirut where the scene is reportedly set are more often seen patrolling the street in skin-tight jeans, bouffant hair and Jimmy Choos,” the piece reports.
Said Abboud: "The Lebanese are intelligent enough to use such a thing to our advantage. I am calling on youths to splice images of the war-torn Hamra of ‘Homeland’ with the real street.”
"’They should display it in Skybar,’ he added, referring to one of Beirut’s sophisticated and expensive nightclubs that comes complete with valet to park the Porsches and Jaguars in which the clientele tend to arrive,” the piece reports.
The article adds, "Tom Fletcher, the British ambassador to Lebanon, who has campaigned for Westerners to reassess their perception of the country, told Executive, the Lebanese magazine that broke the story, that ‘"Homeland" is one of life’s joys, but Lebanon tends to get a rough time from filmmakers — I’d encourage people to see the real Beirut.’"
Showtime did not respond to a request for comment, the report notes.