Celebrities Who Were Banned From Other Countries

Celebrities get to travel around the world, but exciting trips also come with increased scrutiny. National governments can be wary of stars who misunderstand their culture or generate bad publicity. A country can even ban a celebrity from visiting altogether, which is what happened to the following famous names. Even Brad Pitt has been banned from a prominent country over one controversial act (page 10).

1. Elton John

Elton John is in a red suit jacket and playing the piano on stage.

Elton John | Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for dcp

  • Banned from: Egypt

Legendary singer Elton John was scheduled to perform a private concert in Egypt, but the concert was canceled, reportedly because John is gay and “has been critical of organized religions,” according to The Guardian. The scheduled performance received overwhelming pushback; an Egyptian musicians union even coordinated with authorities to stop John.

2. Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson in a suit looks at camera and shows off his face tattoo.

Mike Tyson at the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame induction gala in 2014. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Banned from: New Zealand

New Zealand canceled the former boxer’s visa because of his rape conviction in 1992, according to The Guardian. At the time, he was touring for a children’s charity. Other countries on his tour, like Australia, allowed him entry.

Next: Be careful who you support in this Asian country.

3. Jon Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi poses with Dorothea as they are sitting down next to each other.

Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley attend the Can Do Awards. | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

  • Banned from: China

The frontman and his band were banned from China after they used an image of the Dalai Lama as a backdrop while performing in Taiwan, according to The Guardian. The incident also resulted in the cancellation of the group’s planned concert in Shanghai. China has banned other bands, like Maroon 5, for showing support for the Dalai Lama, too.

Next: Many Asian countries love this socialite — but not Japan.

4. Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton attends her "Paris Electric Christmas" and poses in a silver dress on a red car

Paris Hilton | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

  • Banned from: Japan

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tokyo denied entry to the heiress after her guilty plea to a misdemeanor drug charge. The former reality star had to cancel her tour dates to promote her fashion and fragrance lines.

Next: The U.S. ordered this British star to do community service.

5. Boy George

Boy George is wearing a white top hat and in a patterned jacket as he sings.

Boy George | Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

  • Banned from: the United States of America

The English singer had his visa denied by the U.S. after pleading guilty to falsely reporting a burglary, according to The Telegraph. Strangely, the government ordered Boy George to complete community service, which included cleaning the streets of New York City.

Next: One country labeled this star an “undesirable alien.”

6. Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin sits next to Tina Fey on 30 Rock.

Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock | NBC

  • Banned from: Philippines

During a May 2009 appearance, the actor joked on Late Night with David Letterman that he considered getting a Filipino mail-order bride, which prompted government officials to issue a statement labeling Baldwin an “undesirable alien.” He issued an apology for the remark, but the nation still wouldn’t remove him from its blacklist.

Next: This homemaking star’s jail time didn’t impress England.

7. Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart speaking in front of a crowd.

Martha Stewart | Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

  • Banned from: the U.K.

Martha Stewart’s 2004 felony charges (of conspiracy and obstruction of an agency proceeding) led to the denial of her U.K. visa in 2008, when she’d planned to deliver a speech at the Royal Academy.

Next: A misunderstanding led to a ban of this iconic foursome.

8. The Beatles

the beatles sitting and drinking coffee.

The Beatles | Fox Photos/Getty Images

  • Banned from: the Philippines

During a 1966 visit to the Philippines, the band unintentionally turned down the former president’s invitation to his palace. Allegedly, The Beatles didn’t receive the full details and so politely declined, sparking a political uproar that forced the musicians to flee the nation amidst angry jeers.

Next: Disney struck a deal with one country, sacrificing a director in the process.

9. Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese in a tuxedo.

Martin Scorsese | Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images

  • Banned from: China

Martin Scorsese’s Kundun gives a sympathetic account of the early life of the 14th Dalai Lama, which angered Chinese officials for whom the Lama is a rival political figure. The nation threatened to restrict Disney’s access to their market but banned Scorsese instead.

Next: After a controversial move, Brad Pitt will never be able to enter one strict country.

10. Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt speaking at a panel.

Brad Pitt | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

  • Banned from: China

Government officials in the People’s Republic of China banned the actor for the negative portrayal of Communist military officers and the positive depiction of the 14th Dalai Lama in Seven Years in Tibet.

Next: This international star is so good at dancing it threatens some countries.

11. Beyoncé

Beyonce Knowles and Heather Morris dancing at the American Music Awards.

Beyoncé Knowles dancing at the American Music Awards. | ABC

  • Banned from: Malaysia

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party basically forced the icon to cancel her 2007 Malaysian concert. The reason? Many of the party members were offended by her dance routine, according to The Telegraph. 

Next: Indonesians don’t get to see this actress/singer’s performances.

12. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett on the red carpet at the grammys.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett | Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

  • Banned from: Indonesia

Lady Gaga’s revealing outfits didn’t go over well in the Muslim-majority nation of Indonesia. The country banned the singer in 2012.

Next: This rapper proves you should take customs seriously.

13. Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg is on stage in a robe.

Snoop Dogg | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • Banned from: Norway

In 2012, Norway banned Snoop Dogg after the Scandinavian country caught him carrying eight grams of marijuana and an undeclared $27,000 in cash. This resulted in a two-year ban from traveling in the Scandinavian country.

Next: This singer is known for pushing boundaries.

14. Björk

Bjork is on stage in a big black dress and an orange wig.

Björk | Malte Kristiansen/AFP/GettyImages

  • Banned from: China

The Icelandic singer was banned from China after performing in the city of Shanghai, according to South China Morning Post. During her last song, she began chanting “Tibet, Tibet,” which didn’t go over well with some of the crowd.

Next: Russians may like Donald Trump way more than this pop star.

15. Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez sings on stage as her hair is blowing in the wind.

Selena Gomez | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • Banned from: Russia

The young star had her visa denied by Russia, reportedly due to her stance on gay rights. According to the Daily Mail, she was set to perform in St. Petersburg’s Ice Palace when her visa was refused.

Next: This pop star faced some odd allegations.

16. Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber is onstage with one arm up in the air.

Justin Bieber | Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

  • Banned from: Argentina

The young singer allegedly assaulted a photographer in Argentina and was accused of disrespecting the country’s flag during a concert, according to Time magazine. He couldn’t return to the country during his Purpose World Tour

Next: After watching this actor’s movies, it’s not a huge surprise he’s banned.

17. Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen posing on a beach in sunglasses and a green swim suit giving a thumbs up in Borat.

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat | 20th Century Fox

  • Banned from: Tajikistan and Kazakhstan

Tajikistan and Kazakhstan banned the actor after the release of The Dictator and Borat. The countries also banned the movies for their depiction of a murderous dictator and more.

Next: Two countries take domestic violence seriously and prove it with this R&B star.

18. Chris Brown

Chris Brown is wearing a cameo jacket as he accepts an award.

Chris Brown performs on stage at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. | Jason Kempin/Getty Images

  • Banned from: the U.K. and Australia

Chris Brown’s physical abuse of Rihanna led to his ban from entry to the U.K. in 2011 and from Australia in 2015. In response to the Australia ban, Brown took to Twitter, volunteering to start a domestic abuse awareness campaign in exchange for being allowed entry. Nothing ever became of that, and both nations still have a ban against Brown.

Next: Legal convictions are taken seriously in the U.K.

19. Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes is smiling wearing an all black outfit.

Busta Rhymes attends the 59th Grammy Awards. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

  • Banned from: the U.K.

The rapper was stopped from entering the U.K. because he had unresolved convictions back in the U.S., according to MTV. He was trying to go to a RockCorps event at the time, but had an assault and weapon possession charge.

Next: This pop star is known for some disrespectful acts.

20. Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus laughing on the voice.

Miley Cyrus on The Voice | NBC

  • Banned from: China and the Dominican Republic

Already banned for an offensive photo where she’s shown slanting her eyes, Miley Cyrus was also barred from the Dominican Republic in 2014. The government stated that Cyrus was known to “undertake acts that go against morals and customs, which are punishable by Dominican law.”

Next: Canada gave this rapper its two “cents.”

21. 50 Cent

50 Cent talking at a panel.

50 Cent | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Banned from: Canada

In 2005, Canada banned 50 Cent from visiting, both for his previous criminal record and his songs’ alleged promotion of gun violence. Toronto member of parliament, Dan McTeague, issued a statement at the time, stating, “I don’t think people in Toronto or any urban center need or want to hear Mr. Jackson’s message right now.”

Next: A five-hour detainment in the U.S. scared this British star.

22. Lily Allen

Lily Allen has her arm around Alfie Allen.

Lily and Alfie Allen | Claire Greenway/Getty Images

  • Banned from: the United States of America

The U.S. revoked the British pop star’s working visa after an alleged confrontation with a photographer. The Los Angeles International Airport stopped the singer, according to The Telegraph. Lily Allen was detained and questioned for five hours.

Next: A music video led to violent protests.

23. Akon

Akon is smiling as he is sitting down.

Akon during a press event for CES 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

  • Banned from: Sri Lanka

The rapper filmed a music video for the song “Sexy Chick,” which takes place at a raunchy pool party in front of a Buddha statue. There were violent protests regarding the video, leading to the refusal of Akon’s visa and his ban from Sri Lanka. “[I] am a spiritual man, so I can understand why they are offended,” he said, according to The Guardian. “But violence is never the answer and I am disheartened to hear about what happened in Sri Lanka.”

Next: Controversial lyrics aren’t acceptable in some countries.

24. Tyler, The Creator

Tyler, The Creator onstage holding microphone to the side.

Tyler, The Creator | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

  • Banned from: the U.K. and New Zealand

U.K. border patrol turned away the rapper after then-home secretary, Theresa May, banned him from the country, according to The Guardian. New Zealand also banned the artist for being “a threat to the public order and the public interest” because of his lyrics.

Next: Malaysia isn’t a fan of this pop star.

25. Kesha

Kesha poses on the red carpet in a black dress and purple hair.

Kesha | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

  • Banned from: Malaysia

The pop star was supposed to perform in Malaysia but was stopped by the country’s government. According to TMZ, her show didn’t abide by the country’s religious beliefs.

Additional reporting by Nicole Weaver.

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