12 Celebrities Unwelcome in Foreign Countries
Celebrities are known for being able to go where they want, when they want, but that’s not always the case. Criminal records, political views, or even the way they dress can make some stars persona non grata in countries outside their own — whether it’s in the form of an outright ban or just stern public words from government officials.
Alec Baldwin: The Philippines
During a 2009 appearance on ‘Late Show with David Letterman,’ the ’30 Rock’ star made a crack about “Filipino mail-order brides” that went over like a lead balloon in the island country. Baldwin later half-apologized for any “perceived insensitivity,” but that didn’t stop the Filipino Bureau of Immigration from labeling him an “undesirable alien” and banning him from entry.
Lady Gaga: Malaysia and Indonesia
In 2011, conservative Muslim groups in Malaysia took issue with the gay-friendly lyrics of ‘Born This Way,’ and the following year, Mother Monster canceled a show in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta after one of those groups — which called her the “devil’s messenger” and a “destroyer of morals” — vowed to bar her from even getting off the plane if she made the trip.
Snoop: United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway
One country? Pssh. Try four. The first three didn’t like Snoop‘s extensive criminal record, and last summer, Norway joined the ever-growing list and banned him for two years when officials caught him passing through one of the country’s airports with an unsurprising stash of weed. (His Netherlands ban must have been lifted, though, because he performed in Amsterdam just last month.)
Boy George: United States
Uncle Sam yanked up the welcome mat in 2008 after the former Culture Club frontman was charged with false imprisonment in his native England. He was out on bail and awaiting trial at the time, but the US denied his application for a visa, forcing him to scrap a planned North American tour. (George was later found guilty by a London court and sentenced to 15 months in jail.)
Miley Cyrus: China
After that 2009 stunt wherein she and a bunch of friends were photographed pulling back the corners of their eyes (seemingly to mock Asians), Miley earned herself not only a lawsuit, but an indefinite ban from the Chinese government that covers her, her music and her movies.
Chris Brown: United Kingdom
Breezy was barred from obtaining a 2011 work visa in the UK (where he had three scheduled tour dates) because officials were afraid his beating of Rihanna two years prior could make him a danger to British citizens. Chris then proved how much he’d changed by promptly going on one of his famous Twitter tirades.
Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere: China
The actors are just three of many celebrities who’ve been banned from China for supporting an independent Tibet. Pitt earned his ban after starring in the 1997 film ‘Seven Years in Tibet,’ Ford was nixed after testifying before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1995, and Gere’s name became mud thanks to anti-China comments he made during the 1993 Oscar telecast and his longtime friendship with the Dalai Lama.
50 Cent: Canada
If you have a criminal record, Canadian law dictates you need a special permit to enter the country — and in 2005, Junior Foreign Minister Dan McTeague didn’t want to give one to Fiddy, saying the rapper promotes gun-related violence. “This is not a question of censorship,” McTeague explained. “This is a question of trying to protect impressionable young men.”
Like Lady Gaga, Beyonce was the subject of protests from conservative Muslim groups. Local decency laws require female performers to be covered from shoulders to knees with no cleavage showing, and since Bey didn’t feel like fighting about it (and certainly wasn’t going to comply), she just “postponed” her 2009 show in Kuala Lumpur.
Amy Winehouse: United States
The late British singer was barred from entering the States twice — once in 2008 because of drug problems (forcing her to miss the Grammys and accept all five of her trophies via satellite) and again in 2009 after an assault arrest. Sadly, the talented songstress never quite seemed to pull herself together, and she died at the age of 27 in 2011.