(WTVO) — An Egyptian lawyer has filed a lawsuit calling for Netflix to be banned in the country for a distortion of history by casting a Black actress as Cleopatra.
Mahmoud al-Semary filed the lawsuit Sunday claiming an upcoming Netflix docuseries distorts Egypt’s history in favor of Afrocentrism, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Al-Semary added that “most of what Netflix platform displays do not conform to Islamic and societal values and principles, especially Egyptian ones.”
“In order to preserve the Egyptian national and cultural identity among Egyptians all over the world, there must be pride in the makings of such work,” al-Semary said in the suit.
“African Queens: Queen Cleopatra” premieres May 10th, and has been accused of “blackwashing” Queen Cleopatra VII, who was born in Alexandria in 69 BCE and was of Macedonian-Greek descent.
Actress Adele James stars as Cleopatra in the series.
Egyptologist Zahi Hawas told the BBC that “This is completely fake. Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was light-skinned, not Black,” and accused Netflix of “trying to provoke confusion by spreading false and deceptive facts that the origin of the Egyptian civilization is Black.”
The series is produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, who, according to the BBC, said, “We don’t often get to see or hear stories about black queens, and that was really important for me, as well as for my daughter, and just for my community to be able to know those stories because there are tons of them!”
A prior movie about Cleopatra was planned with Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot in the role, but garnered controversy for casting an Israeli actress in the lead.
Gadot said at the time, “We were looking for a Macedonian actress that could fit Cleopatra. She wasn’t there, and I was very passionate about Cleopatra.”