Celebrities may lead a more luxurious life than most, and they are granted access to many exclusive locations and venues, and get the opportunity to travel the world. But there are some who have also been banned from countries, despite their stardom.
There are many different reasons why a person can be banned from a country, some are because of their past behaviors, which the officials have deemed to be inappropriate, while others are simply down to an outfit they wore, or a movie they starred in. Or perhaps they voiced their support for something that the country disagrees with. For example, it was too late for Justin Bieber to say sorry to Argentina for his bad behavior, while Katy Perry’s choice of dress left her with an indefinite ban in China.
Government officials don’t mess around when it comes to granting access to their country, and they are serious about who gets in, and who doesn’t (regardless of net worth or status). Many A-listers travel around the world to promote their music and their latest films, and having restricted access can be damaging to their career (and reputation). Below are 25 celebrities who have been banned from countries, and while some bans are still in effect, others were dropped a few years later.
25 Beyoncé Wasn't Able To Put On A Show In Malaysia
Beyoncé is an incredibly successful woman, but there is one country that won’t be supporting her in concert, and that country is Malaysia. According to BravoTV, in 2009, Beyoncé decided to cancel her concert in the country, following protests about her outfits, which were deemed inappropriate for the country because of their strict religious beliefs. She was given the option of changing her wardrobe to something more conservative, but she instead chose to cancel the show altogether.
It wouldn’t have been a true Beyoncé show though, because she was also not allowed to dance.
24 Katy Perry Has An Indefinite Ban From China Because Of Her Sunflower Dress
In 2017, Katy Perry made headlines after she was banned from China indefinitely. She was reported to have applied for a visa for the country, but it was denied and she was given a ban, according to Page Six.
The reason for the ban dates back to 2015 when Perry wore a bright yellow, sunflower dress. Her choice of outfit was worn during a show in Taipei, Taiwan, but it caused controversy as the sunflower is the same flower used by anti-China protesters.
23 Selena Gomez Is Not Just Banned From One Country But Two: China And Russia
Selena Gomez has not just been banned from one country but two; Russia and China. According to Fox News, the ban from China is because officials were angered by a photo she took with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The photo dated back to 2012, and Gomez had shared the image online, but years later it resurfaced and she had no choice but to cancel her Revival tour dates in the country.
The ban in Russia dates back to 2013, and according to Cosmopolitan, it was over her support for gay rights.
22 The Beatles Found Their Popularity Drop In The Philippines After They Declined A Palace Invitation
The Beatles still remain one of the most well-known and greatest talents, but during their time together they were actually banned from the Philippines. It may have been all down to a big misunderstanding, but according to Cosmopolitan, the reason for the ban is because they declined to “attend a breakfast reception at the Presidential Palace with The First Lady Imelda Marcos.”
The band then had a tough time leaving the country and were mobbed at the airport while trying to board their plane.
21 It Was Too Late For Justin Bieber To Say Sorry To Argentinan Officials
Justin Bieber may be a married man now, but there was a time when his behavior got people rolling their eyes, and the singer banned from Argentina. According to Time, in 2016, Bieber told his Argentinian fans that he would no longer be able to tour in the country and that his Purpose tour had no scheduled dates there for this reason.
The publication notes that while Bieber did not explain why he could not return to Argentina, he did land in trouble with the countries officials in 2013 when he was accused of disrespecting their flag. He is also reported to have got into an altercation with a photographer.
20 Hayden Panettiere Tried Her Best To Save Dolphins In Japan But Her Actions Got Her In Trouble
Hayden Panettiere is not exactly banned in Japan, but she does have a warrant out for her arrest in the country. The reason, according to Today, is because she tried to stop fishermen in the country from hunting dolphins, she did this when she, and five others, went into the sea on surfboards to try and disrupt the fishermen's catch.
It was an emotional event for Panettiere, but her involvement was also deemed by the officials to be wrong for interfering with international commerce.
19 Björk Used A Chinese Concert To Show Her Support For Tibet -- Which Led To A Ban
Yet another celebrity banned from China is Icelandic singer-songwriter, Björk, who caused a stir in 2008. The singer was in Beijing performing a rendition of her song, "Declare Independence," when according to CNN, she started chanting the word “Tibet!” over and over again. The publication notes that the Chinese government said she broke the law.
Now, keeping in mind that Selena Gomez got banned from the country for old photos of herself and Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, it’s little wonder why Björk’s actions were not received well.
18 Gigi Hadid's Video May Be Why She's Not Allowed Into China
Joining the list of stars that have been banned from China is Gigi Hadid, who according to BBC, had to miss out on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai in 2017 because her visa was denied. The publication notes that the model was unable to enter the country, and it’s believed that she angered many people, including Chinese officials, when she was seen in a video narrowing her eyes and attempting to “mimic the Buddha shape of a cookie she was holding up to the camera.”
17 Alec Baldwin Made A Joke About The Philippines, But Officials Weren't Laughing
Alec Baldwin’s “joke” that he made about mail-order brides from the Philippines didn’t sit well with a lot of people, including the Filipino Bureau of Immigration.
According to Screenrant, his comments were made in 2009, during an interview on Late Night with David Letterman. At the time, Baldwin was single, and so told the host that he was “thinking about getting a Filipino mail-order bride at this point… or a Russian one.” Baldwin later apologized, but it seems he was not forgiven.
16 Miley Cyrus Is Not Considered A Friend Of China Or 'Anyone Of East Asian Descent'
Miley Cyrus offended a lot of people in 2009 after she posted a photo of herself, with what appeared to be slanted eyes. According to Harper’s Bazaar, her actions resulted in a ban from China, and the following statement was made by Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi, regarding their decision: “Miss Cyrus has made it clear she is no friend of China or anyone of East Asian descent. We have no interest in further polluting our children’s minds with her American ignorance.”
15 Snoop Dogg Found Himself On The No-Go List For Norway For Two Years
In 2012, Snoop Dogg found himself in trouble with Norwegian officials and was given a ban from the country, which was to last two years. According to BBC, one of the two offenses the rapper admitted to was entering the country with more cash than what is allowed. He was fined and banned, but did not seem to be too concerned by this, as his lawyer stated he would not appeal the ban, and could "live with the decision.”
Snoop had been entering the country to attend the Hove Festival, and he was allowed to continue onwards and perform at the festival.
14 Lady Gaga's Wardrobe And Antics Don't Have Indonesia's Stamp Of Approval
Lady Gaga is not welcome in Indonesia because her actions were thought to be inappropriate. According to BBC, in 2012, the singer revealed that she was devastated to have to cancel her tour amid protests in the country, which left the officials to make the decision to refuse her an entry permit.
Lady Gaga had been given the choice to tone down her act, but instead, her management decided to cancel the show. They cited security, of both Gaga and concert-goers, as a reason for the cancelation.
13 Lily Allen Had To Cancel Tours In The USA (But Her Ban Has Since Been Lifted)
British singer Lily Allen was banned from performing in the United States for a time because of an incident involving her hitting a paparazzo in London, England. According to E! News, in 2007, Allen had to postpone her tour and was no longer able to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards because her work visa had been revoked, quite unexpectedly.
At the time, Allen expressed her disappointment at not being allowed into the country, but the ban has since been lifted (and was in 2008).
12 Harrison Ford's Support For The Dalai Lama Made Him An Enemy Of China
Harrison Ford angered Chinese officials after he voiced his support for Tibet, and according to Times of India, he received a ban after “testifying at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of an independent Tibet.”
His interest in Tibet seemed to start after the 1997 film, Kundun, which focused on the life of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Ford was not in the film, but his wife at the time, Melissa Mathison, was involved in writing the script. Director Martin Scorsese was also banned from China because of the film.
11 Akon's Video Caused Protests In Sri Lanka (And He Had To Make An Apology)
Akon angered a lot of people, especially, it seems, those in Sri Lanka because he was banned from the country after he released a music video which showed him enjoying a pool party, with a Buddha statue in the background. According to The Guardian, the statue appeared in the corner of frames, it was out of focus, and the singer claimed to have not even known it was there.
But Akon's music video spurred a number of protests in Colombo, and he ended up apologizing for the video, stating, he "never set out to offend or desecrate anyone's religion.”
10 Paris Hilton Only Got As Far As An Airport In Japan, Back In 2010
When Paris Hilton landed in trouble with the law in the United States (over a charge in Las Vegas), she also landed a ban from Japan. According to The Hollywood Reporter, in 2010, Hilton was set to visit the country to promote her fragrance and fashion lines, but when she arrived at Tokyo airport in her private jet, she was refused entry.
She had to spend six hours chatting to officials, before being sent back to Los Angeles. Her publicist expressed, on behalf of Hilton, how disappointed she was that she was unable to “keep her business commitments and see her fans,” but that she respects the laws.
9 Jon Bon Jovi Almost Had Their First Concert In China, Until A Backdrop From A Past Gig Put An End To It
Bon Jovi is not allowed to perform in China, and according to The Guardian, it has something to do with their previous use of an image of the Dalai Lama. This dates back to 2010 when the band used the image in a backdrop of a gig they played in Taiwan.
In 2015, it was announced that the band’s concerts in Shanghai and Beijing were canceled, and these were meant to be the band’s first dates in the country, something which the band members seemed to be very excited. The publication notes that Jon Bon Jovi had even sung in Mandarin for a recording of the track, “Moon Represents My Heart.”
8 Kesha Was Told She'd Be Imprisoned If She Performed In Malaysia
In 2013, Kesha’s concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was canceled (although it’s not completely clear why), and according to CNN, the singer was not happy with the official decision. She took to Twitter to tell fans that it was not her decision to not play the show, and while she had intended to go ahead with it, she was then informed that she could face jail time.
The promoters of the show were expected to potentially lose hundreds of thousands because of the ban.
7 Jay Z May Be One Of The Most Successful (And Richest) Musicians, But That's Of No Interest To China
Jay Z and Beyoncé are considered to be a power couple, and although they have accomplished a lot in their respective careers, they have both also found themselves banned from countries -- although not the same ones. Beyoncé was not allowed to perform in Malaysia because of her outfits, while Jay Z landed in trouble with China.
In 2006, NME reported that Chinese authorities had banned the rapper because the lyrics in his songs had too much bad language. That year, a concert he was scheduled to perform in Shanghai was canceled.
6 Sacha Baron Cohen's Film Left Him With A Temporary Ban From Kazakhstan
There are many different reasons that a person can be banned from a country, some are because of their past behaviors, which the officials have deemed to be inappropriate, while others are simply down to an outfit they wore, or a movie they starred in. The latter is what landed Sacha Baron Cohen on a banned list in Kazakhstan, because he chose to play a character in Borat, that was meant to come from the country.
But the ban did not last and was later lifted. In fact, according to Time, in 2012, the Kazakh foreign minister said he was “grateful” for how the film had helped to bring tourism to the country.
5 Martha Stewart Was Told Sorry, But You Can't Come Into The U.K.
Martha Stewart may be a fantastic baker (and a multi-talented businesswoman), but she is not a perfect person and has had run-ins with the law before. In fact, she has been previously denied entry in the United Kingdom, stemming from her charges in the United States for lying about selling stocks, CBS News reports. Stewart’s actions landed her in prison for five months, and a further five months of home detention.
Then, when she wanted to enter the United Kingdom in 2008, her request was denied, with the publication noting that the government stated it "continues to oppose" entry for those with previous convictions.
4 Oasis Were Banned From China After Noel Gallagher's Previous Concert Was Brought To Their Attention
In 2009, Oasis had to cancel their concert dates -- which were meant to be their first ever performances in China -- because Noel Gallagher had performed at a Free Tibet concert in New York in 1997, The Guardian reports. In 2009, the band had their licenses revoked for their upcoming Beijing and Shanghai concerts and were deemed to be unsuitable to play because of their previous affiliation with the Tibetan movement.
Apparently, the band was confused by the decision, saying in a statement that the decision "has left both Oasis and the promoters bewildered.”
3 Russell Brand Has Been Turned Away From Both South Africa And Japan
Russell Brand was denied access into South Africa during a trip because he did not have enough passport pages. This is not exactly a ban, but it did damper his holiday plans. That said, Brand was banned from Japan, and according to Screenrant, this is because of his previous trouble with the law.
The ban left him deported from the country in 2011 when he had gone to be with his then-wife, Katy Perry, who was performing her California Dreams tour across Asia.
2 Sharon Stone Made Unkind Comments About The 2008 Earthquake In China
Sharon Stone made many people angry after she commented on how the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China could have been “karma” for the country’s treatment of Tibet. She made the comments on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival after discussing the Chinese treatment of Tibetans with a reporter. She said, "And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened and I thought, 'Is that karma, when you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?'"
Needless to say, her comments are insensitive, regardless of her feelings towards the country.
1 Lindsay Lohan Filmed A Documentary In India Without A Working Visa
There was a time when Lindsay Lohan was the golden girl of Hollywood, but she had also had her share of problems in the past. Because of this, Lohan has been banned from many New York clubs, according to Marie Claire, but she has also been banned from India.
The reason, according to the publication, came after Lohan claimed to have saved multiple children from sweatshops while filming a documentary with BBC. It also turned out she hadn’t applied for a work visa to film the documentary, meaning she had misused her tourist visa.
References: BravoTV, Page Six, Fox News, Cosmopolitan, Time, Today, CNN, BBC, Screenrant, Harper's Bazaar, BBC, E! News, The Mirror, Times Of India, The Guardian, Hollywood Reporter, The Telegraph, Marie Claire