Tuck That Passport Away: Celebrities Banned From Foreign Countries
Believe it or not, what celebrities do or say can have an affect on their travel plans. For instance, these stars have been banned from foreign countries, either permanently or for a period of time, for acting out in one way or another.
Snoop Dogg/ Lion
He may have been reincarnated and born again as Snoop Lion, but back when he was Snoop Dogg, the California native was banned from the United Kingdom. Traveling through London’s Heathrow Airport with an entourage of five, Snoop and his boys caused a ruckus when they weren’t admitted into British Airlines’ first-class lounge. Apparently that, and his criminal record, were enough to issue a lifetime ban for Snoop. He’s also been banned from flying British Airlines as well.
Alec Baldwin is no stranger to putting his foot in his mouth. As a guest on “The Late Show” with David Letterman several years ago, the “30 Rock” star was asked if he would like more children to which he replied he was “thinking about getting a Filipino mail-order bride at this point – or a Russian one.” Although the joke went over well with the audience, Philippines Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan didn’t find the joke too funny. He released a statement saying, “By being in the bureau’s blacklist, Baldwin is forbidden from entering the country as he is deemed an undesirable alien.”
R&B star Akon has become an international superstar but there is one place in the world where he’s persona non grata: Sri Lanka. In 2010, the “Locked Up” singer shot a video for the song “Hot Chick.” The video shoot was a raunchy pool party filled with bikini-clad women. And a Buddha statue in the background. Hundreds of people swarmed the streets to protests Akon’s upcoming concert in the country and as a result he was denied entry. Unaware that the Buddha statue was in the shot, Akon apologized. “[I] am a spiritual man, so I can understand why they are offended,” he said. “But violence is never the answer and I am disheartened to hear about what happened in Sri Lanka.”
It’s hard to believe that hot Hollywood hunk Brad Pitt wouldn’t be welcome everywhere but the Mr. & Mrs. Smith star is banned from China. Pitt starred in the 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet based on a book about Heinrich Harrer’s period in the country during WWII. The Chinese government was upset over the film’s portrayal of China’s harsh rule in Tibet and banned the star from coming to the country. Pitt hinted on twitter earlier this year that he would return to China but has yet to actually do so.
R&B superstar Beyonce is currently taking the world by storm with the Mrs. Carter international tour but there is one place she won’t be stopping. The “Bootylicious” singer is not welcome in Malaysia due to her risqué dance moves and outfits. Beyonce was set to perform in Malaysia in 2009, but Islamic conservatives feared her show would promote the Western culture. This isn’t the first time the country has had a problem with the former Destiny’s Child member. She canceled a 2007 show in Malaysia over the strict dress code.
Icelandic singer Bjork has always been vocal about her political beliefs and convictions so it should not have been a shock that she spoke out in support of Tibet. The only problem was she voiced her support while in China. Performing at a concert in Shanghai, Bjork dedicated her song “Declare Independence” to the Tibetan freedom movement. Immediately after her performance, Chinese officials said she would not be welcomed back.
Since he dropped his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin in 2003, Queens born emcee 50 Cent became an international superstar. However, the very thing that made him a star made him unwelcome in Canada. Junior Foreign Minister Dan McTeague refused to allow the “In Da Club” rapper into his country because of the violent content of his lyrics. “I do want the laws of Canada to apply to anybody who is a criminal, an admitted criminal, as Mr/ Curtis Jackson – known as 50 Cent – is,” he said. “Under our laws, he would be deemed criminally inadmissible.”
Miley Cyrus grew up in the spotlight earning millions of dollars as the star of Disney’s “Hannah Montana” and becoming a role model for young girls across the country. However, the former child star caused a firestorm in 2009 when she posted a photo of herself and some friends posing with her eyes slanted on her website. At first Cyrus defended the photo with a statement on her website saying, “In NO way was I making fun of any ethnicity! I was simply making a goofy face.” A few days she had a change of heart and apologized but it was too late. Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi said, “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.”
R&B singer Chris Brown was enjoying a successful career as a singer and was turning into a budding actor when he infamously assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. A year later, after losing his boo (for the time being) and endorsement deals, Brown still faced the repercussions of his actions. The “Don’t Judge Me” singer was scheduled to tour in London but had to change his plans after he was denied access into the country.
British singer Amy Winehouse has publicly battled with drugs and alcohol and famously sang about refusing to seek treatment in her hit song “Rehab.” Winehouse was asked to perform at the 2008 Grammys in Los Angeles but because of her drug and assault arrests in the UK, she was denied access into the country. Winehouse ended up performing via a live telecast. A year and a half later, Winehouse had to turn down a gig at Coachella because once again the U.S. denied her visa. Winehouse passed away in 2011 at the age of 27.
No good deed goes unpunished. In 2006, Boy George was pled guilty to falsely reporting a burglary report in New York City and was ordered to perform community service. The Culture Club singer wanted to thank the good people at the New York City Department of Sanitation for showing him kindness while fulfilling his sentence and was set to perform the department’s annual Family Day in 2008, but the U.S. denied his visa because he had an open criminal case pending in his home country. Boy George expressed his disappointment in an interview: “I’m pretty devastated because I am so excited about this forthcoming tour and having my visa application denied seems unfair after I swept the streets of New York spotless.”
Homemaker maven Martha Stewart was busted for insider trading and paid her debt to society by serving five months in a federal prison back in 2004. Fast forward four years later, when the talk show host was planning a business trip to London she found out her conviction would stop her from taking the trip. A spokesperson for UK’s Border Patrol released a statement regarding Stewart’s denial: “We continue to oppose the entry to the UK of individuals where we believe their presence in the United Kingdom is not conducive to the public good or where they have been found guilty of serious criminal offences abroad.”
Jay Z certainly has the Midas touch, turning everything he does into gold, but when the rapper turned mogul tried to enter China back in 2006 as part of a world tour, they told him no. Chinese authorities canceled a performance scheduled for the “Picasso Baby” rapper in Shanghai because of the vulgar content in his lyrics. “I look forward to rescheduling my concert date in Shanghai,” Jay Z said in a statement about the incident. “This world tour has been a life changing experience and it has only been made better by touching the fans that I am seeing for the first time.”
British pop singer Lily Allen should’ve checked with U.S. authorities before making an unnecessary trek. Allen flew from Australia to Los Angeles as part of her trip to the MTV Video Awards in Las Vegas. That’s when she was detained by customs and was barred from continuing on with her trip. Allen was refused entry into the country because of a scuffle she had with a photographer a few months earlier. Her rep explained what happened at the airport: “Lily was questioned and her work visa was revoked. She was detained for five hours but not strip-searched. Understandably she was upset by it.”
Busta Rhymes was forced to scrap his plans for performing at a London concert several years ago. In 2010, the “Twerk It” rapper traveled across the pond the day before the concert only to have his application for a work visa rejected due to a couple of assault cases. Busta Rhymes took a plea deal in both cases and was sentenced to three years probation, 10 days of community service and fines. Luckily, concert promoters were able to secure Ludacris to take Busta Rhymes’ slot for the show.