Entertainment & Arts

Homeland angers minister over depiction of Beirut

Claire Danes in Homeland
Image caption The controversial episode was aired on Channel 4 last Sunday.

A Lebanese minister has threatened to sue the makers of hit US TV series Homeland for misrepresenting Beirut in a recent episode of the show.

Back to Beirut, the second episode in the new series of Homeland showed a terrorist meeting on Hamra Street - an apparent Hezbollah stronghold. The episode was actually shot in Israel.

Lebanese Tourism Minister Faddy Abboud said filming "did not depict reality".

"It was not filmed in Beirut and does not portray the real image of Beirut."

"It showed Hamra Street with militia roaming in it," he told the Associated Press, adding that the real Hamra Street was actually a popular neighbourhood of shops and cafes.

Mr Abboud believes the depiction of the city could have a negative impact on tourism.

"This kind of film damages the image of Lebanon - it is not fair to us and it is not true," he told Beirut's Executive magazine.

"We want to take action, we want to write to the filmmakers and producers and demand an apology. And we are planning to raise a lawsuit against the director and the producer."

Twentieth Century Fox, which produces the Emmy-winning US series, has declined to comment.

Image caption Stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis both won an Emmy in September

Mr Abboud was also offended that filming for the episode, which is based on an Israeli series called Hatufim (Prisoners of War), took place in Israel rather than Beirut itself - especially given the history between the two territories.

But filming in Beirut would have been difficult since Homeland's co-creator, Gideon Raff, is Israeli and Israel's citizens are barred from visiting the city.

Lebanon's leading LBC TV carried a report on the controversy on Thursday, saying the show disparaged Arabs and that its setting in Israel was "a double insult."

Homeland, now in its second series, has proved a ratings success in the US, and has aired in more than 20 countries.

It follows the burgeoning political career of former prisoner of war Nick Brody, and the CIA operative who believes he was turned by the enemy and is now a threat to the US.

Both the leading actors - Britain's Damian Lewis and US star Claire Danes - recently picked up Emmys for their work on the show.

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