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Country sues TV show

Posted by: Laurence Simons 24/10/12

That country is Lebanon. That TV show is Homeland. One of those two has won an Emmy. It's not Lebanon.

Why does the entirety of Lebanon want to sue Homeland? Because episode two of the latest series painted the country in a less-than-complimentary light. Set in Beirut, the episode saw Clare Danes run around after baddies and cover her hair in a hijab while the city burst to the seams with terrorists. It is this 'riddled with terror' image that jars with how the Lebanese tourist board would prefer the reformed city be seen, which is as the 'Paris of the Middle East'.

"We are following the case legally," said Lebanon's minister of tourism, Fady Abboud, presumably while erecting a huge tower made of iron and nonchalantly eating a baguette. "I raised this at the cabinet meeting and the president asked the minister for justice and the minister of communications to see what could be done." He also called on the country's youth to blog about it, as though that would help.

In reality, all Abboud is really hankering for is an apology from the show's producers, but the threat of legal action has also been a canny way of generating some positive - 'actually, Beirut is alright' - style press. Lessons learned? Don't be afraid to have an entire country keep you on retainer, and sometimes just the looming threat of legal action can be enough.