Egyptians request ban of Netflix's series starring black Cleopatra - Reports

28 May 2023 09:02pm
The four-episode docudrama premiered on Netflix on May 10 and sparked a major controversy as it stars biracial British actress Adele James as Cleopatra, Egypt's last pharaoh who ruled the Ptolemaic Kingdom until its annexation by Romans in 30 BC. - Photo: AFP
The four-episode docudrama premiered on Netflix on May 10 and sparked a major controversy as it stars biracial British actress Adele James as Cleopatra, Egypt's last pharaoh who ruled the Ptolemaic Kingdom until its annexation by Romans in 30 BC. - Photo: AFP
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CAIRO - The Egyptian Prosecutor General's office has received a complaint against Netflix's new documentary series "Queen Cleopatra" demanding its ban due to alleged cultural insensitivity and historical inaccuracies, reported Sputnik citing an El-Watan newspaper report on Sunday.

The four-episode docudrama premiered on Netflix on May 10 and sparked a major controversy as it stars biracial British actress Adele James as Cleopatra, Egypt's last pharaoh who ruled the Ptolemaic Kingdom until its annexation by Romans in 30 BC.

The complaint filed by an official from the Egyptian Culture Ministry said that Netflix had distorted a famous historical image and thus created a historical falsification. The official demanded that the series be removed from the streaming platform and forever banned, the newspaper reported.

The authors of the documentary should have consulted archaeologists and anthropologists to create a correct image of Cleopatra, the complaint also said.

Netflix's show sparked controversy even before its release. Tens of thousands signed a petition in April criticizing the choice of a black actress to portray the Ancient Egyptian queen, arguing that the series peddles "Afrocentrism" in an attempt to "claim Egypt's history and rob the actual Egyptians from it" and accusing the creators of "blackwashing" the history.

Cleopatra’s racial heritage has become the subject of heated debate in the late 20th century, with some African-American scholars presenting the ancient queen as a black African.

Cleopatra is known to have originated from a Macedonian Greek dynasty founded by Ptolemy, a general in the army of Macedonian king Alexander the Great. Encyclopaedia Britannica says she had little, if any, Egyptian blood, and was the first member of the Ptolemaic family to learn Egyptian. - BERNAMA

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