Lawyer files lawsuit demanding Egypt suspends Netflix Cleopatra documentary
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A lawyer has started legal proceedings against Netflix, calling upon them to suspend production of their show Queen Cleopatra, about the famous female historical leader of the country.
Check out the trailer below:
Even the Egyptian antiquities minister has piped up to say that it’s historically inaccurate because the ancient leader - played by Adele James - is portrayed as Black, when it is widely accepted that she was Greek, and most likely light-skinned.
The docuseries – executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith - features historian Shelley Haley declaring: “Cleopatra was Black.”
Lawyer Amr Abdel Salam doesn’t agree with that statement, and filed an urgent lawsuit on Wednesday (3 May) at the country’s administrative court, calling for the Egyptian government to compel Netflix to bin the documentary.
His suit calls for the government to take diplomatic measures involving international organisations , as well as litigating in the area as well as in the US against the documentary.
He wants Netflix and those behind the film to pay out compensation to Egypt, too.
He argues that, according to Article 50 of the Egyptian constitution, the government is bound to protect the country’s cultural heritage by all means.
Salam believes this four-part series is a cultural attack on the country, and represents gross inaccuracies, tantamount to an assault on Egypt’s cultural heritage.
Basically, there’s a lot of people that are really unhappy with this project.
Antiquities minister Zahi Hawass has also criticised the show, accusing them of ‘falsifying facts’.
Hawass said of the show portraying the last Ptolemaic queen: “This is completely fake.
Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was blonde, not Black.”
Egyptian journalist and satirist Bassem Youssef also argued against Netflix’s show, stating: “People from West Africa and other nationalities agree with the point of view that I put forward.
“It is very important when we defend our point of view or our history that we do this with politeness and respect for other civilizations.
“It is never true that while we defend our history we insult or underestimate other ethnicities or civilizations, that is why I insisted that I speak with respect about the civilizations of West Africa, because these people are not our enemies and they will respect us when we respect their history.”
Defending her project, director Tina Gharavi said: “So, was Cleopatra Black? We don’t know for sure, but we can be certain she wasn’t white like Elizabeth Taylor.
“We need to have a conversation with ourselves about our colorism, and the internalized white supremacy that Hollywood has indoctrinated us with.
“Most of all, we need to realize that Cleopatra’s story is less about her than it is about who we are.
“It’s almost as if we don’t realize that misogynoir still has an effect on us today.
“We need to liberate our imaginations, and boldly create a world in which we can explore our historical figures without fearing the complexity that comes with their depiction.
“I am proud to stand with Queen Cleopatra - a re-imagined Cleopatra - and with the team that made this.
“We re-imagined a world over 2,000 years ago where once there was an exceptional woman who ruled.
“I would like to draw a direct line from her to the women in Egypt who rose up in the Arab uprisings, and to my Persian sisters who are today rebelling against a brutal regime.
“Never before has it been more important to have women leaders: white or Black.”
UNILAD has contacted Netflix for a comment.