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Denzel Washington faces backlash over the portrayal of Hannibal in Antonie Fuqua's movie

Denzel Washington casting as Hannibal sparks controversy in Tunisia

December 11, 2023
Denzel Washington slammed by Tunisians for playing Hannibal in Antonie Fuquas movie
Denzel Washington slammed by Tunisians for playing Hannibal in Antonie Fuqua's movie

Denzel Washington has recently sparked controversy in Tunisia after he plays the role of Carthaginian general Hannibal in Antoine Fuqua’s upcoming Netflix movie.

French-language Tunisian newspaper La Presse published an editorial where it objected that Hannibal “as a Black African is a historical error according to Tunisians and many observers,” via Variety.

The French publication reported that there were other complaints about depicting the Carthaginian general as a Black African being made in the media and the Tunisian parliament.

Member of Parliament Yassine Mami revealed that Hannibal, who was born in 247 BC in Carthage, now known as Tunis, the Tunisian capital, was reportedly of West Asian Semitic origin. He was regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in history.

“There is a risk of falsifying history: we need to take position on this subject,” said the Tunisian politician.

Meanwhile, Tunisian culture minister Hayet Ketat-Guermazi pointed out, “It’s fiction. It is their [Netflix‘s] right to do what they want.”

“Hannibal is a historical figure and we are all proud that he was Tunisian. But what can we do?” stated Hayet.

She added, “I hope they decide to shoot at least a sequence of the film here and that that this is publicised. We want Tunisia to go back to being a location where foreign films are shot,” per Le Monde publication.

Moreover, Denzel will also be seen in the upcoming sequel to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, which has resumed shooting in Malta.