They may play in the major leagues, own the world’s swankiest private jets and may not give two hoots about conversion rates, but no matter what, some celebrities may never be able to travel to certain countries. The most recent one to be put on a country’s “no visit” list was singer Chris Brown. After running into problems with the border guards at Britain and Canada, the Turn Up the Music singer was denied a visa into Australia on account of assaulting his ex, Rihanna.And criminal convictions are just the tip of the iceberg.
Offending a nation’s sentiments takes the cake when it comes to reasons for facing a ban from a country. Remember Brad Pitt’s Seven Years in Tibet? The actor along with his director and co-stars were banned from China for not portraying China’s treatment of the Tibetian people in the best of lights.
Bob Dylan’s position as an icon of the counterculture movement, Harrison Ford, Bjork, Oasis and Richard Gere’s support of Tibet and Miley Cyrus’ “slanty-eyed” picture, have all come under China’s scanner resulting in banning them from their country. Japan, on the other hand, has a stringent no-drugs policy and icons like The Rolling Stones, footballer Diego Armando Maradona, Paris Hilton and comedian Russell Brand (who was caught with cocaine stuffed condoms in an unpleasant place) were all turned down from visiting their country.
Turns out, they also don’t like it when people interfere in their affairs like actress and activist Hayden Panettiere did. She is not (yet) banned from Japan, but an arrest warrant is out on her for interrupting a dolphin hunt! Other popular names include Martha Stewart who was banned from England for obstruction of justice in an insider-trading scheme and Akon was banned from Sri Lanka – a predominantly Buddhist country for his Sexy Chick, a music video that featured scantily clad women dancing near a statue of Buddha. Snoop Dog has to virtually stay at home, thanks to his extensive criminal record and Beyonce Knowles is banned from Malaysia for “promoting sexy, Western performances” while, Lady Gaga is banned for her (“gay”) lyrics from the same country.
Closer home, Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan weren’t banned but have run into problems with their applications for visas on grounds of their conviction in the 1993 serial blasts, illegal possession of arms and hit-and-run cases respectively. “I actually think it’s a good thing to see. We live in a time where anybody with an Internet connection and a brain can influence others, and with great power comes great responsibility. While Paris Hilton may have more twitter followers than Barack Obama, I’m glad a few checks and balances bring everybody back down to reality,” says popular comedian Sanjay Manaktala.