Denzel Washington’s Casting as Hannibal Barca in Netflix Film Stirs Race Controversy in Tunisia

Denzel Washington, as the ancient Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca in an upcoming Netflix project has ignited strong opposition from Tunisians. According to The Guardian, citizens of the country has strongly opposed this casting decision as a distortion of history, sparking a debate across various platforms, including Tunisian newspapers, social media, and even within parliamentary discussions. Tunisians have accused it as an act of miscasting and falsifying history. On the other hand, Netflix endorsed the film release about, “the Carthaginian general who famously led an army of warriors and elephants across the Alps to fight the Roman Republic during the Second Punic War.” Denzel Washington Receives the Lifetime Achievement Award at CinemaCon 2023, Gets a Standing Ovation From the Crowd (Watch Video).

Tunisia’s French-language news outlet, La Presse, criticised the casting as a historical error, while social media users accused Netflix of casting the actor. According to reports, an online petition was signed by 1,300 individuals, demanded Netflix to “cancel its pseudo-documentary” and urged the Ministry of Culture to intervene against what they perceived as an attempt to misrepresent their history.

Who Was Hannibal Barca?

Hannibal, born in Carthage near modern-day Tunis, is hailed as one of history’s greatest military leaders. In 218 BC, during the war against the Romans. He boldly led his troops and African war elephants through the Alps to strike Rome from the north. Over 15 years, he caused significant devastation, yet he never succeeded in capturing Rome and eventually retreated to North Africa. Notably, Hannibal’s skin color remains unknown. Historians believe he was of Phoenician descent, from the region now comprising modern-day Lebanon and Syria. But, Hannibal was believed to be fair in complication. Black Panther Star Michael B Jordan Wants Mentor Denzel Washington to Join Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Here Are Some Of The Reactions From Netizens: 

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Positive Response:

The Conflict…

Following Netflix’s announcement of Washington’s role, Tunisian MP Yassine Mami raised concerns about the project in parliament. Mami, also the head of the committee on tourism, culture, and services, urged the culture minister, Hayet Ketat Guermazi, to take a stance. Guermazi, however, mentioned that her ministry’s main focus was negotiating with Netflix to film parts of the upcoming movie in Tunisia.

Latest Update: 

The untitled movie will be helmed by Antoine Fuqua, and written by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 14, 2023 08:14 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website

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