Celebrities banned from countries

Just 12 A-list celebrities who have been blacklisted from countries around the world

Matty Healy is not alone

Matty Healy has built his image on causing controversy, but once again it’s landed him in the bad books of a fair few people. The 1975 has been forbidden from playing in Malaysia after, during their concert in Kuala Lumpur, Matty criticised the country’s laws against homosexuality. The frontman then proceeded to kiss the band’s bass player, Ross MacDonald, an act of rebellion against the fact that homosexuality in Malaysia is punishable by 20 years in prison. 

Some have praised this as a heroic act, but fans in Malaysia are disappointed that they won’t be able to see their favourite band again, some even going further. Carmen Rose, a Malaysian drag queen has called out Healy for undoing “years of progress” for LGBTQ+ people in the country.

But whatever you think about him, he is not the first celeb to be banned from performing or entering a country, here are 12 celebrities who have been banned from countries around the world.


Selena Gomez

The singer was forced to cancel her shows after a photo she posted with the Dalai Lama got her banned from the country. The religious leader fled to India after a failed uprising against the Chinese government in 1959. 

Miley Cyrus

Another Disney girl who won’t be visiting Beijing anytime soon is Miley Cyrus, but for quite different reasons. Miley was banned from the country in 2009 after she posted an Instagram photo that was widely perceived to be racially insensitive. In the photo Cyrus and her friends appeared to be pulling their eyes back to mimic a slanted appearance which the Chinese government considered culturally offensive, leading to her subsequent ban. 

Justin Bieber

Another notorious troublemaker, the singer has been banned from the country for his “bad behaviour” on and off the stage. Over the years Justin Bieber has been arrested multiple times for minor offences as well as the infamous drink driving incident of 2014.

Brad Pitt

via Sony Pictures

Brad Pitt was banned from China for almost 20 years due to his role in the film Seven Years in Tibet. The movie was prohibited because of the way it negatively portrayed the Chinese government and military. Pitt was not allowed into the country from 1977 until 2014 when he accompanied his then-wife, Angelina Jolie, on a press tour of her movie Maleficent. 

Lady Gaga

In 2016, Lady Gaga was left unable to tour in China after she was banned from the country after a meeting with the Dalai Lama. But this was not her first run-in with the Chinese authorities. In 2011 her music was put on a blacklist and the sale of her records was prohibited in the country until 2014, it was described as having “poor taste and vulgar content”.

If she’s going to get punished for anything it should have been that meat dress, but that’s just one woman’s opinion. 

Katy Perry

In 2017, Katy Perry was banned from China, ahead of her upcoming performance at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai. The reason for the ban is said to be a dress she wore in 2015, during a concert in Taiwan, that featured sunflowers on it. Anti-China protestors in Taiwan had claimed the symbol of the sunflower as their own. It is unclear whether the outfit was politically charged. 



Matty Healy is in good company on the list of celebrities who we also won’t be seeing in Malaysia. Beyonce is banned from performing in, or entering the country after her shows were deemed to be a promotion of “Western sexy culture”. The singer refused to change her shows or cover-up, so the ban went ahead. 


On the other hand, when Kesha was banned from performing in Malaysia, she tried to negotiate with the authorities so that she could still perform. But when she suggested changing her lyrics and her outfits she was apparently threatened with an arrest. 

Elton John

So Elton John wasn’t actually banned from playing in Malaysia but the country’s Islamic party put in a huge campaign to try and stop him. When the show eventually went ahead in 2012, the party took to the streets to protest against the performer, citing worries that he may promote “immoral” and “hedonistic” values for their Muslim citizens. 


Chris Brown


Some people made it onto this list in heroic fashion, but definitely not all of them. Snoop Dogg is another one of the celebrities who has been banned from countries. Chris Brown was forced to cancel his 2015 tour after being denied entry into Australia. This was due to his 2009 assault on his then-girlfriend Rihanna. The Australian authorities cited their zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence.

United States of America

Lily Allen

The pop star was denied entry to the US after being stripped of her work visa in 2007. The decision was a consequence of her assault on a photographer earlier in the year which she received a caution over. She was allowed back in around a year later, which is handy considering she now lives there with her husband David Harbour.


Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg is another one of the A-list celebrities who has been banned from countries. In true Snoop Dogg fashion, the rapper was banned from entering Norway for two years after trying to enter the country with eight grams of cannabis. Snoop Dogg took the ban on the chin and added it to his extensive collection of drug charges. The ban has since expired.

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