Legal team takes action over Netflix’s ‘Queen Cleopatra’ in Egypt

Update Legal team takes action over Netflix’s ‘Queen Cleopatra’ in Egypt
“Queen Cleopatra” is on Netflix. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 May 2023

Legal team takes action over Netflix’s ‘Queen Cleopatra’ in Egypt

Legal team takes action over Netflix’s ‘Queen Cleopatra’ in Egypt

CAIRO: In the latest development in the uproar against Netflix’s “Queen Cleopatra,”  Egyptian lawyers and archaeologists are calling for legal action against the streaming platform.   

The group is demanding the documentary be banned over the streaming giant’s depiction of Cleopatra as a woman of sub-Saharan origin.

Cleopatra VII Philopathor was the ruler of Egypt prior to Roman rule. According to historians, she is a descendant of Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general. 

Egyptian lawyers have filed a lawsuit before the Administrative Court of the State Council to compel the Egyptian government, represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to take all diplomatic measures and communicate with relevant international organizations to ban the recent documentary.  

Arab News met with the Egyptian lawyer Mahmoud Al-Semary, who is one of the litigators in the lawsuit against Netflix.

“The events of the film contain a great falsification of historical facts and it is a severe insult to the Ancient Egyptians. These are not my words, but the words of academic figures, specialists in Egyptology and archaeology,” he told Arab News.

The lawsuit was filed before the documentary’s May 10 premiere on the streaming platform, with Al-Semary telling Arab News: “the promo minutes were sufficient to move because they were full of inaccuracies. With my full respect for the continent of Africa, to which we belong geographically, they (the Ptolemy dynasty from which Cleopatra hailed) were not part of the African people, as the promo depicted them … the drawings on the temples and the remaining monuments from the different eras and the murals in the west of the city of Alexandria confirm this.”

“On April 16, I made my decision to file a lawsuit against Netflix and accused it of forgery. On April 29, I was directed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office to the Economic Court and the Administrative Judiciary Authority to file what is called a “satellite broadcasting disputes” memorandum. I called on the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, in its capacity as the authority concerned with the protection of heritage and history, to assume its responsibility in this matter, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an authority responsible for international political relations,” the lawyer explained.

After viewing the documentary, he said he “became more insistent on suing Netflix because it insulted the Egyptians and deliberately falsified history. Every day, the number of lawyers and parties joining the lawsuit increases, and one of them demanded two billion dollars in compensation for the damage to the reputation of the state.”