You're Lebanese! You're...Censored: Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' banned in Lebanon

lady_gaga

Not everyone’s in love with “Judas,” it seems.

First, Lady Gaga’s religious-themed tribute to the thirty-pieces-of-silver-loving turncoat rankled some Catholic and Latino groups. Now it’s resulted in her No. 1 album Born This Way getting banned in Lebanon. Though you might think that title-track shout-out of “You’re Lebanese!” would be a source of pride for the Middle Eastern country, Lebanon’s General Secretary Department has prohibited the sale of Born This Way CDs due to its being “offensive to Christianity.”

Though not mentioned specifically, it seems pretty obvious “Judas” was the main culprit here. As a country with a fragile religious makeup split between Christians and Muslims, it’s often been an unwelcoming place for certain kinds of button-pushing art.

In 2009, Lebanon banned the film Waltz With Bashir on grounds that it unfairly portrayed Christian militia groups as responsible for a massacre of Palestinian refugees, while Persepolis was censored for painting Islam in a negative light.

However, the General Secretary Department’s statement goes even further and accuses Born This Way of “bad taste.” Though invoking religion is commonplace in Lebanese censorship, artistic questions of “taste” usually haven’t been.

The Lebanese music scene is full of sexually precocious female popstars like Haifa Wehbe and Elissa, who could easily rival Katy Perry, Britney Spears, or Gaga for their titillating provocations. So, unless Lebanon especially bristles at faux German-speak, lyrics about hair, or Clarence Clemons’ mad sax skills, what in particular about Born This Way could be considered “bad taste”?

Well, considering that it’s been banned in Malaysia for “promoting homosexuality” (the fiercely conservative government there only allowed radio play of the title track with the lyric “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track, baby” excised), it’s hard not to think that another reason for its censorship in Lebanon is the album’s underlying gay-pride subtext.

So far Gaga hasn’t taken to Twitter to address the matter, and her rep could not be reached in time to comment. Though regarding the Malaysia ban she did say, “The point, with ‘Born This Way,’ is to fight for something that not everyone believes in.”

Readers, what do you think? Let us know, in the comments below.

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more from EW.com:
Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ sells 1.1 million in first week of release
Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way': EW review
Lady Gaga blasted by Latino groups for portraying Mary Magdalene in ‘Judas’ video
Lady Gaga confronts Christian anti-gay protester; announces release date of ‘Judas’ single

Comments (157 total) Add your comment
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  • Chucklehead

    Maybe they banned it because it sucks!

    • Nick T

      The entire CD is about religion. Not just Judas. What is everyone listening to? Only one site listed all the religious references in nearly every track. EW. What the heck did you miss?

      • Queen of 99cents

        Lady Gaga sucks..including 1.1 million Americans who bought her latest lame and insipid album “Suck This Way”

      • Not an idiotic monster

        Lady Gaga is a puppet who exploits her monsters and GLBT. She constantly touts her symbiotic bond with her fans, the ‘little monsters’ whom she inspires to ‘love themselves’ as if they are damaged goods in need of her therapeutic repair. There’s no question that Gaga’s fan connection is self-interested “branding’ strategy.

      • Lady Copycat Much

        Born This Way- …well that’s some ridiculous Stefani- L.A.M.E. sheer trash type of songs !

      • Riri4Ever

        Gaga’s fans are marooned in a global technocracy of fancy gadgets but suffering from emotional & intelligent poverty.

      • Leave Gaga Alone

        I like how it’s obvious that the same person wrote all the messages above using different user names. Nice try, you might want to wait more than 2 minutes before you post another lame attempt to bring down Gaga. You can’t deny she is talented. GET OVER IT.

      • She is a wannabe

        MADONNA COPYCAT…!! Next?

      • seattleboy

        Same 2 year- old rubbish ! Remember when she said this album would be the greatest album of the decade? Really? This new album is not showing any big progression whatsoever so far. Do people really let their kids buy this? I know kids will download it but are there actually adults who will spend their hard earned money on this tasteless crappy album. Haven’t we learned any anything about this recession? What a ‘sad, true but waste’ era we live in…. (Sigh)

      • Maggie

        I love her new cd. There are so many really good songs on it. The haters actually lowered my expectations, but I am glad I checked it out anyway! I LOVE Marry the Night, Hair, Electric Chapel, Scheibe, and especially Government Hooker. GREAT ALBUM!

    • Lady GaGa

      Or maybe they banned because they are scared, because they think homosexuality is a “sickness” or a “mental disorder” that’s just being plain ignorant, I mean I’m sorry but its the true.
      LittleMonsters don’t let society bring us down! Will fight for what we love and what the meat on our bones tell us. Believe me will make it. One day will be free!

      • The Truth

        …because she is the worst & biggest flake American has ever discovered apart from Bush’s WMD!

      • Bonafide Musician Sounds Like Caca

        She’s exploiting gays for attention. She figures she can start a gay movement thus, making her a part of culture. Well it’s working because there’s a lot of gay wannabes at school. They are not authentically gay because one minute they are streight the next they’re gay. She is a dumb broad. Sure, she knows how to play piano but if my father was a rich entrepreneur I could probubly get lessons on it too. Did you know that she even had to have singing lessons? She had the same singing coach as Christina Aguilera and it all came out of daddy’s wallet. Too bad they didn’t help :D

      • Tiffany

        You can’t say she is “exploiting gays for attention” when she contributes MILLIONS to homeless LGBT youth organizations. She set up donation events at her concerts to encourage her fans to do the same. With her guests at the VMAs, she sent record traffic and donations to the Service Members Legal Defense Network to help those with DADT legal fights.

        She is hardly exploiting them, she really does help. You might not like her music, but to say that she is exploiting them is IGNORANT.

      • Mrs Brie

        I wish more countries could ban Lady Gaga..she is a joke who hides behind gay issues to sell records.

      • moony

        i agree all u stupid ppl out there shut the @#$& up seriously get a life u say lady gaga hides behind gay issues to sell records well ur an @$$ to think tht :)

      • gaj

        IT WASNT BANNED

    • She is a joke

      Why does Lady Gaga exploit gays so much?

      Like in “Alejandro” music video for example she made gays out to be dirtier. She keeps saying that “I love my gays you make my fame” or some stupid crap like that, okay I get it that she’s a gay rights supporter but she doesn’t need to exploit us in her music videos like she does.

      I’m gay and I don’t act like that. Anybody agree? I mean Britney Spears, Cher, Madonna are gay rights supporters and they don’t exploit us like Gaga does!

      • A Beyonce copycat

        Haha the same : )

        Way overrated, no talent, and a horrible personality.

      • Tiffany

        You can’t say she is “exploiting gays” when she contributes MILLIONS to homeless LGBT youth organizations. She set up donation events at her concerts to encourage her fans to do the same. With her guests at the VMAs, she sent record traffic and donations to the Service Members Legal Defense Network to help those with DADT legal fights.

        She is hardly exploiting them, she really does help. You might not like her music, but to say that she is exploiting the community is IGNORANT.

        Funny you bring Britney up…her support for the gay community only extends as far as being faux-lesbian in her performances to get attention for herself.

      • Monster For Life

        @She is a joke – “I’m gay and I don’t act like that. Anybody agree?” – are you serious? Watch Madonna’s videos for “Erotica” or “Justify My Love” and tell me how those “interpretations” of homosexuals are any different. Please do your research before trying to raise that specific argument. Frankly, I’m fans of both artists and have never felt exploited by them or any others because I’m acutely aware of who I am so “insecure” isn’t a necessary trait for which I’d use to describe myself.

    • anti-Gaga

      I think Lady Gaga is a one trick pony. I think her statements/songs are designed for purely publicity-related reasons. I would go so far as to say that her pro-gay rights position is an elaborate ploy which exploits the gullibility of the dumb gay masses, paticularly American gay men.

      Oh for the days when gay men actually had brains and thought things through before throwing their cash at “bisexual” dance divas who are simply propping up the sleazy straight guy fantasy. One can only surmise that, sometime after the 1980′s, the gay male brain became a congealed mass of amyl- and ecstasy-affected glue.

      Gaga;s gullibility is beyond the pale. She thinks gays are like robots, but she and her ugly monsters are the group without intelligence.

    • Taylor Swift no1 fan

      This is what happens when talentless musician take the stage. They need shock value in order to make up for how terrible they are musically.

      Lady Gaga is the epitome of filth. She’s nothing but a role model for women with no self-esteem, lack of originality and she believes everything she does is for “art”.

      Everyone knows she’s a new Madonna copycat. There’s so many trends in this world, and she’ll just be the flavor of the year. That’s why she is milking her fans like there is no tomorrow with this album, videos, singles after singles and performances.

      Then of course, there will be some other talented and much better looking musician that will come in and take her spot light. People, lets just hope ‘she’ with real talents and beauty comes soon!

    • paul samreny

      At first I thought it was nice,but after I realized what she mean’t I was very upset. I am a lebanese American and very proud of it. just look up Famous American Lebanese and see how much these people have contributed to our country. you will understand where i’m coming from. Also I am of the Maronite Rite, which is in communion with the Holy See and our mass is spoken in aramaic, the language that Jesus Christ spoke. Shame on her! Gaga is of Italian decent and probably a Catholic. I guess money is her priority!!!!

  • ugh

    Lucky them.

    • Lady GaGa

      That’s very hurtful what you are saying. I feel my album is a manifestation of freedom & love so I love you even though you seem not to respect yourself.
      I mean, I’m sad for the Lebanese people but think, if the banned my album that means many many people there will realize that they live in a place of hate & denial. I love you LittleMonsters! Fight for yoyur rights, fight for equallity

      • omar

        I LOVE YOU LADY GAGA YOU’RE AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US AND SO AS YOUR SONGS. THESE CRITICISM WILL ONLY EMPOWER YOU AND “YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK”

      • The Edge of Retire

        Her new album is a manifestation of mundane, talentless and boring self-proclaimed musician could be!

      • Goodluck

        Let’s be honest. The only female star uglier than Lady Gaga is Whoopi Goldberg.

      • Aunt Sassy

        Sorry, but if you are going to impersonate Lady GaGa at least take the time to use proper English.

      • LOL

        Judas——> Judarse ( it stinks)

    • Lady GaGa

      That’s very hurtful what you are saying. I feel my album is a manifestation of freedom & love so I love you even though you seem not to respect yourself.
      I mean, I’m sad for the Lebanese people but think, if they banned my album that means many many people there will realize that they live in a place of hate & denial. I love you LittleMonsters! Fight for yoyur rights, fight for equallity

      • ugh

        If Lady Gaga had ANY balls she would go on Howard Stern tomorrow.

      • KC

        Haha. Omar believes Lady Gaga wastes her time posting on EW like the rest of us.

      • Lady GaGa

        @ugh oh honey, I will go to Howard Stern, I don’t understand why are some people so obssesed with getting something bad out of me, I mean, I have nothing to be scared of, what can he asks? If I’m illuminati? Well let’s put this way, I’m a christian and I love god its up to you if you believe in that stuff or not to say if I am or not. He can say that my album only sold 1.1 million copies because it was at 99 cents, well it would have sell that anyways so. Please people just share love & peace not hate. I love LittleMonsters

      • Lady CaCa

        Don’t be a drag, just go away.

      • Next

        Judas sucks..it is a joke with a 5th grader lyrics and beat.

        Bye for now.

      • Hello Adele

        never liked her..never will !

    • Mariah4Eever

      The Lebanese are smarter than Americans !!!

  • Victoria

    Boring This Way just sucks. Maybe she sell it for $0.45 cent, they’ll change their minds. She is sacrireligous talking about she is in love with Judas.

    • omar

      I am sorry but in the reality and honestly speaking of course for a girl named Victoria you SUCK

  • Thomas

    Backwards country.
    Sad.

    • MT

      Oh please.
      Everytime a foreign country doesn’t get on board with some trend coming from the western world, people will call it “backwards” without trying to understand where it comes from.
      This post says they gave a legitimate reason: “As a country with a fragile religious makeup split between Christians and Muslims, it’s often been an unwelcoming place for certain kinds of button-pushing art.”
      Each country retains its sovereignty. Let’s respect that.

      • Lady GaGa

        No, sorry I respect the law & every form of thinking but it saddens me a lot that something i’ve worked for 2 years, can’t be heard in a country because of ignorance, because there is NOTHING, I mean NOTHING in that album that can make someone upset.
        & as some of you precious people said, it may be because of my homosexuality content, but the beauty of my work is that it speaks for each and everyone of you, not just gays. Is for everyone who has felt disfranchise.
        Love&Equality LittleMonster

    • Alas

      Lebanon has all the right to Ban this. It is a beautiful country with its own culture and music. It doesn’t need this kind of music if it thinks it will offend a huge part of the population. Why invoke such trouble? If its gay rights you want, grass roots organizations are the way to go. Not to mention Lebanon is the most open country in the region with pride marches already (although they are small).

      • rob.jones15

        very well put @alas.. their culture and music is one of the best in the world and something like this would just cause rifts

    • Senon

      Sed, muy cierto lo que nemoctas. Con lo que no estoy tan de acuerdo es con las re9plicas. Lady Gaga no marca las tendencias de la moda y la cultura, es LA CONSECUENCIA de la moda y la cultura contempore1nea. Lady Gaga (obvio, su equipo de produccif3n detre1s de ella y ella tambie9n) han sabido sumergirse inteligentemente en un entretejido de moda, arte, cultura y vanguardia para traer a la loca me1s chic del planeta. Cierto, sus letras no son (casi) nada profundas, aunque seamos claros, ella compone y produce. No tiene la gran voz ni baila (en absoluto) pero tiene un claro concepto del show, tiene emocif3n y sabe comunicarse con la gente. El fenf3meno de Lady Gaga es en apariencia contracultural aunque es lo me1s cliche9 del mundo. Es el subproducto cultural de un sin nfamero de referencias. Pasare1 a la historia, Scd, lidera el mercado, tambie9n. Es un gesto del mal gusto y del cliche9, por supuesto. En tanto que sea fabricada o no, tiene ella mucho que ver en el asunto y bueno, parece que hasta el momento lo ha hecho bien.

  • Woot

    Ugh here come the inanely immature comments about how much Lady Gaga sucks without actually giving a rational reason why.

    • ugh

      I liked her CD. This second one is very generic. I think she really needed to consider taking some time off between records/tours and making a truely awesome record and I hope she does it one day.

      • Lady GaGa

        @ugh You are very wrong, my music is not generic. I do know that it isn’t something groundbreaking but believe me, wait a couple of years and you’ll see its amazingly beautiful. You just don’t get it know because now its “cool” to hate me & not to like me. But believe even I know something fresher will come & I won’t fade away but ill just be done making history by that time. And when that time comes you’ll say “Lady GaGa”s music was better”

    • Retired Housewife

      Does it surprise me? No! Lady GaGag is a music skank! When her fans will wake up to this fact that she is nothing better than lowlife copycat trash ?

  • Jack

    Good for Lebanon. Her music sucks and is sacrilegious. I’d rather listen to elevator music….

  • Everett

    She’s a gimmick with very little talent that uses the gay community. Only thing she’s been right about lately is that her album is worth 99 cents if that much.

  • KC

    I love how the gays get all in a tizzy when people tell them that they’re icon came out with a crappy record.

  • Jack

    I think that Gaga’s songs give a good message but I do understand that some countries are against homosexuality and are extremely religious but I believe people should be allowed to decide what kind of Music to listen to and Gaga’s songs are truly inspirational and her messages are so strong and clear.

  • Woot

    Maybe someone could actually address the issue in the article? It shouldn’t matter if it’s Lady Gaga, anything getting banned from a country that doesn’t actually cause harm is a crime (queue inevitable “it caused my ears to bleed” and “it harmed me emotionally” comments. I saved you the trouble, they weren’t going to be funny anyways.) It saddens me that things like this happen.

  • Johnny

    I’m gay and Gaga isn’t my icon. I don’t like her. I love how she makes gays out to be monsters. Way to play to the insecurites of some gays.

    • Lady GaGa

      Dear Johnny, I think you are not very bright. I don’t need nor want to be a gay icon, I just speak from the bottom of my heart to people who feel disfrachise or out of place, because I went thru that, and it happens that in the world the people who have the hardest time feeling comfortable with themself is gay people, because people treat then different for no reason, is ignorance what i fighting against so please don’t be rude and say that I only have gay fans when its not true and its hurtfull for those who are my fans and are not gay, you are making a stereotipycal comment and I think that’s not right. Love you LittleMonsters!

      • S Grech

        Dear “lady” gaga,
        I’m curous to know, in your letter to Dear Johnny do you speak in the same tone of voice as Mystic Meg?
        I think she was a bit gaga too.
        Whatever you’ve got I hope you get over it soon.
        All the best

    • KC

      It’s nice to know there is some intelligence in the gay community.

      • MC

        I’m a gay college graduate with “some intelligence” and I love the cd! I’m sure there are things that you like that I don’t like. Doesn’t make either of us “smarter” than the other, we just have different tastes and opinions.

    • Suck her Way pt2

      …minus the gays, makeup and those wacky outfits, she is nothing!

    • My Name Here

      Dear Johnny…..I don’t like Cher or Better or Babs and I am gay…..SO what is your point?

      • My Name Here

        *Bette

  • anthony

    music is very important to lebanese people. i think they banned this pop star because her music is horrendous. they should ban it everywhere. pop music like hers dumbs down societies and entire generations and ensures our children never learn to read, speak or write properly

  • Edward

    Born This Way is about to drop 90% in sales, and Amazon lost $3 million on the sale of the album. That’s with them bundling it with one of their other services. I don’t think Gaga will be around in the next 3-5 years.

    • Lady GaGa

      Lest wait & see.

    • MC

      Amazon lost $3 million on their own accord. Amazon is the one that decided to sell the record for $.99 in order to draw people to their service in order to compete with iTunes. They made the choice to take the loss by using one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year to get more people on their service, so it really has no relevance to whether or not Gaga will be around in 3-5 years. It’s going to drop majorly because of that promotion. It goosed sales, but she still would have sold around 670k without Amazon selling it for $.99, not too shabby indeed.

      • Rob

        I agree. It’s funny how people forget that little fact, that it would still have been number one, Amazon deal or not.

  • Idviceroy

    It saddens me to that freedom of expression and the right for others to choose for themselves is stifled.

  • Edward

    The sooner these no talent bimbos are gone the better. We can maybe get some real music.

    • Rob

      So, what’s the definition of real music then? I hear so much about it, and I’m dying to know.

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