This talented and handsome actor will unfortunately never be able to see the Great Wall of China or the Forbidden City. He spoke out in support of Tibet, so, naturally, the Chinese government banned him from the country. Richard Gere, Martin Scorsese, and Bjork have also been banned for this same reason. Touchy much? Hopefully I don’t get banned now.
If only we could ban him from this country... this certified scumbag is banned for life from the U.K. due to his criminal record, aka putting Rihanna in the hospital. Even if he didn’t face hardly any repercussions here, at least he’ll never be able to ride the London Eye, so that makes us feel better.
Shocking, right? Well, Brad never actually broke any laws or anything, but he is banned for life from China for starring in the movie, Seven Years in Tibet, which explored the Chinese military campaign in Tibet in the 1950s. The Chinese government was not too fond of how they were portrayed in the film, so decided they never wanted to grace their soil with Brad’s presence. Their loss.
We're disappointed but not surprised by this one. Elton John was scheduled to peform a private concert in Egypt, but government officials stopped him from entering the country. The reasons? Elton's homosexuality, support for gay rights, and criticism of organized religion.
In 1992, Mike Tyson was convicted and served time for rape. Two decades later, New Zealand cancelled Tyson's visa to the country because of this. While he had initially been granted admittance for a speaking tour to benefit a children's charity, the organization cut ties with him, and the country decided to not let him enter.
The iconic New Jersey band Bon Jovi was scheduled to perform concerts in China for the first time in 2015, but those plans abruptly changed when the government canceled their shows. And what grievous sin did these rockers commit against the Chinese people? They once used an image of the Dalai Lama in a backdrop for a concert in Taiwan. Nothing throws the Chinese government into an absurd, histrionic fit more than anyone, at any time, expressing any sort of sympathy for or recognition of the Chinese-occupied country of Tibet.
If you haven't been paying attention to Paris Hilton since the early 2000s, you're not alone. But apparently, since her reality show days, she's been using her family's money and connections to create multiple clothing and fragrance brands. When she wanted to conduct a tour in Japan to promote them, she was banned by the government--they blocked her entry because of a recent misdemeanor drug charge. While we're no fan of the hotel heiress and a huge fan of national sovereignty, Japan really could stand to take a chill pill when it comes to some of their hypervigilant stances on drugs.
While some celebs were getting banned in far off and exotic locations, Boy George found himself denied entry to the US of A. After filing a false burglary report in London, the United States government denied a visa for George to perform in New York City.
Domestic goddess and apparent threat to British safety, Martha Stewart, was denied entry to the UK in 2008 because of her 2004 felony convictions surrounding securities fraud. Her only planned appearance was a speech at the Royal Academy, where she was presumably going to teach Britain's best and brightest how to do insider trading.
When touring the Philippines, the Beatles apparently declined an invitation to the presidential palace from first lady Imelda Marcos. Whether they declined because of a miscommunication or because they had no interest in seeing this lady's crazy shoe collection is still a matter of debate. What isn't up for debate is what happened next--the band was banned from the country but had a hard time leaving thanks, to angry mobs waiting for them at the airport.
In 1997, Martin Scorsese directed a mediocre biopic about the Dalai Lama called Kundun. Unlike everyone else who saw the film and immediately forgot about it, the Chinese government couldn't let any depiction of their mortal enemy go unpunished. So, they did what they were wont to do and banned him from the country. He wasn't the first and almost certainly won't be the last person to get the banhammer from China because of Tibet.
Unlike some celebs who got banned from China for tangential support of Tibet, Bjork took things to a new, Bjork-y level. During a concert in Shanghai, the Icelandic oddball began to shout, "Tibet! Tibet!" as she performed her song "Declare Independence."
Remind me again what exactly it is that Selena Gomez does? Regardless, the good people of Russia will never unlock this mystery, since the star was banned from the country in 2013. Apparently, the government was worried she would speak out agains the anti-gay laws that had recently gone into effect.
If you’ve seen Akon’s “Sexy Chick” music video, you’ve seen the bikini-clad women dancing around in a pool with a visible statue of the Buddha in the background. Well, this may not have been a big deal to most people, Sri Lankan Buddhists took it quite offensively and protested until Akon was denied entry into the country.
Some of these celebrity bans have been really dumb on the part of the countries involved. This is not one of those bans--because it involves Jusin Bieber. During a tour in the country, Bieber allegedly assaulted a photographer and disrespected the Argintinian flag. When he went to plan another tour in the country, he was denied entry.
Sacha Baron Cohen
To no one's surprise, Kazakhstan hated Sacha Baron Cohen's portrayal of the country and its people in Borat. What choice did they have but to ban him? Also to no one's surprise, the country changed its tune when they saw how successful the film was and how it could benefit their tourism industry.
Busta Rhymes was scheduled to perform in the UK in 2008, but the government had other ideas. Rhymes was stopped by immigration officials because of pending charges in the USA related to assault and weapon possession.
British singer Lily Allen had her visa to the USA revoked thanks to an assault incident with a photographer. To really rub salt in the wound, Allen was detained and questioned for hours by officials at LAX.
Tyler the Creator
China may be the undisputed champion of hysterical bans, but New Zealand is giving them a real run for their money. In 2014, rapper Tyler the Creator was banned from the country for "posing a threat to the public order and public interest." Apparently no one in New Zealand has ever heard a swear word, and authorities were worried citizens would be scandalized by the rapper's admittedly profane lyrics.
Katy Perry's "music" may be a safety threat to your ears, but her outfits are usually harmless, if not gaudy. Not so in China! The American pop star had her Chinese visa denied after officials discovered pictures of her in a dress with sunflowers on it. The totally reasonable and not-at-all-paranoid People's Republic expertly deduced that this fashion choice was a sly dig at their trade war with Taiwan--in which anti-China protestors used the sunflower as a symbol of resistance.
In a refreshing change of pace, the Chinese government banned Jay-Z from performing in the country for a ridiculous reason that didn't involve Tibet for once. Their complaint? His lyrics were too dirty. I'm sure they could have found some subliminal pro-Tibet messaging in his songs if they had looked hard enough, though.
Oasis frontmen and brothers, Noel and Liam Gallagher, are probably most famous for very publicly hating each other. However, in 2009 the always-feuding siblings came together for an important cause--getting banned from China. A decade before, Noel had performed at a Tibet benefit concert, and if you haven't noticed a theme in this slideshow yet, China really (and we mean REALLY) hates when people have anything nice to say about the country.
Russell Brand has been quite public with the bad decisions of his past--including drug use, run-ins with police, and marrying Katy Perry. In 2011, the past caught up with him when he was deported from Japan.
If you thought I've been too hard on other countries for the dumb bans, it's time to bring things back home to the United States. Until 2008, former South African president and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was on the terrorist watch list and denied entry into the country. And how did he make it onto the list? His political party was deemed a terrorist organization by the apartheid South African government he was fighting against.