To the public eye, celebrities are often seen as royalty; they eat at the best restaurants, wear expensive designer clothes, and even get invited to exotic countries to make special appearances.
However, not every celebrity would be welcomed with arms wide open all over the globe. In fact, at one point in most celebrity’s lives, they have angered the wrong people or thought themselves above the law, only to be reminded at the border that crime is crime, and we all have to pay.
Concerts and tours have been cancelled last minute and refunded, all because the authorities of different countries have different values, religions and laws that most artists do not abide to. These stars get a slap of reality when they get their passports handed back to them in refusal. Access denied — maybe next time. Or not.
15. Chris Brown
Surprise surprise. Chris Brown, American singer and dancer, has been banned from entering the United Kingdom in 2010. Officials refused him based on his 2009 felony assault charges on ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Brown was forced to ‘Say Goodbye’ to at least four sold out shows as he gets turned away from the UK border. Unfortunately for Brown, this would not be the last time this sort of incident would occur. In 2015 Brown was denied entry in Canada based on the same charges, and was forced to cancel shows in Toronto and Montreal. Maybe next time Brown will think twice before putting his hands on a lady, but who are we kidding? The only things in Brown’s life that’ll last ‘Forever’ are his quick fists and short temper.
14. Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt, the American actor who has made a name for himself by becoming a character chameleon as well as an American sex symbol, got banned from China in 1997, shortly after the premier of Seven Years in Tibet. China took great offence over his lead role in said film, and Chinese Communist Authorities were so angered that they banned Pitt from ever setting foot in China. This, however, did not stop Pitt, and in 2014 when his wife Angelina Jolie went to Shanghai to promote her new film Maleficent, he accompanied her, keeping a low profile and effectively ending his 17 year ban.
13. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga is either loved for her individual style or hated for her outrageous fashion faux-pas, a hatred so strong that she was described as the ‘devil’s messenger’ by Indonesia’s Islamic Defenders Front. Gaga was banned from performing her concert in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta at the demand and protests of religious groups for her blasphemous reputation. Indonesia even went as far as saying she would be admitted if she ‘toned things down’, but at the council of her manager the tour was deemed unsafe, and her refusal to cover herself up or compromise ended in the singers ultimate performance ban.
12. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus has come a long way from being the innocent girl who debuted on Family Channel’s Hannah Montana, but her innocent tirade came to an abrupt end in 2009 when she was banned from China. Cyrus was banned when China caught wind of an offensive photo that caused uproar with the Organization of Chinese Americans; the OCA felt she targeted the Asian ethnicity when her and a couple pals posted a picture of themselves slanting their eyelids in a mocking manner. In 2014 Cyrus was also banned from the Dominican Republic because they felt she ‘Undertakes acts against Morals and Customs’, but to this Cyrus paid no mind. She continues to pay her dues in humanitarian affairs, such as becoming the founder of The Happy Hippie Foundation, a foundation whose main purpose is fighting injustices against the homeless youth, making the Dominican Republic’s claim to her lack of morals questionable.
11. Alec Baldwin
In 2009, Alec Baldwin lost his right to travel to the Philippines, and he did this by uttering the wrong phrase on public television. Baldwin, it appears, got a little too comfortable on The Letterman Show and ended up having to make an apology to the Filipino people — an apology they did not accept. When asked on The Letterman Show if he was going to have any more children, Baldwin answered “Thinking about getting a Filipino mail-order bride at this point – or even a Russian one” which, to his dismay, resulted in a lifelong ban from the Philippines.
10. Paris Hilton
In 2010, Paris Hilton was refused at the Japanese Border while on her promotional tour to advertise her new fragrance and fashion lines — and no, it wasn’t her trashy clothing line or prostitute smelling perfume that got her banned, it was the drug charges she’d been committed of. Hilton pleaded guilty to the charges against her for possession of cocaine earlier that year in Las Vegas. The socialite was angered at being detained at the border, and then furious at being turned away. No one turns down Paris Hilton, no one! You hear me!
9. Martha Stewart
In 2004, Martha Stewart shocked the nation with her 5 month jail sentence. How this lovely homemaker could be guilty of anything but a beautiful home and lifestyle was simply astonishing, but the truth is Stewart had lied when approached by dubious investigators on whether or not she and her stock broker had been involved in insider trading. Once Stewart was released from jail, she found herself not completely free as she had once been — her privilege to travel to the United Kingdom was revoked in 2008 for having committed “serious criminal offences abroad”. But no need to worry, Martha! You might not be allowed in the country but your influence still lives in the homes of the UK folk.
8. Snoop Dogg
And the award for being banned from the most countries goes to… Snoop Dogg! Although some bans have been lifted, his reputation precedes him and Snoop can never be sure on whether or not he will get detained at a border. He has been banned from Australia, the UK, the Netherlands and even been arrested at the Kristiansand Airport in Kjevik, Norway. The reasons Snoop Dogg has been banned so many times ranges from a string of convictions, from drug possession to firearms offenses. Snoop Dogg was arrested in Norway when trained security dogs snooped him out for trying to hide 8 grams of marijuana in his luggage; he was rewarded with a 2 year ban.
Beyonce is known all around the globe for being one of the most beautiful and talented celebrities of all time. Although the singer is revered in America and Europe, in 2007 she was shunned from her Malaysian concert by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party. Beyonce was in direct violation of Malaysian Decency Laws and would only be allowed in Malaysia if she remained covered from shoulders to knees with absolutely no cleavage showing. This was the final straw for B — no cleavage, no concert. Case closed.
In 2003, Jay-Z was denied the right to travel to Shanghai, China to perform in a concert. Chinese authorities cancelled the gig because they found that Jay-Z’s lyrics spewed too much violence and profanity. This concert would have been Jay-Z’s first time debut in China, but unfortunately for him and his fans, The Ministry of Culture found that there were too many drug, violence, prostitution and sex references to his music, and forbade his entry to the country if he did not agree to switch up his lyrics. Which he did not.
5. 50 Cent
Some might argue that 50 Cent only became famous because he lived to tell the tale of 9 bullets; others might actually like him enough to go see him in concert. What troubled Canada enough to pull the plug on 50 Cent’s concert tour was not his lack of originality and talent in rap, but the message of violence that his music put out. In 2003, when 50 Cent held his last concert in Toronto, a crowd that promoted gun related violence was drawn out and there was a fatality outside of the theatre. In 2005, 50 Cent wanted to come back to play more shows in Canada, but the Canadian MP forbade it. Can you really blame him? Safety first, eh?
4. Boy George
In 2008, Boy George was denied entry into the United States of America; he was turned away because he attempted to enter the country while undergoing trial in the UK. Boy George was very distraught over the idea of not being able to perform in the United States that following year. How this singer/songwriter could even think about performing when he was about to plea non-guilty to ‘falsely imprisoning a male escort’ who claimed he’d ‘chained him to a wall in his London apartment’ is beyond me.
3. The Beatles
Not many celebrities can say that they got banned from a country while they were still in it, but in 1966 The Beatles visited the Philippines for the first and last time. Upon their arrival to the Philippines, The Beatles conducted a great crime: saying ‘No’ to the First Lady Imelda Marcos. Marcos was so enraged at the Beatles refusal to attend her breakfast reception at the Presidential Palace that she had them flee the country as illegal immigrants. Their entourage was kicked and beaten and the airport even went as far as stopping all the escalators once they got to them, making them trudge their luggage all the way home. It’s safe to say that The Beatles never had an interest to return to the Philippine’s warm embrace.
Akon is more than an artist — he is a man who has contributed greatly to the world and has spread his riches around it. In 2014 Akon brought solar energy to 600 million people living in rural Africa. However, despite the good deeds he’s committed, in 2010 he unknowingly committed the ultimate crime — a crime that would ban him from Sri Lanka for eternity. When Akon’s video for “Sexy Chick” came out, it did not take long for religious groups to notice the Buddha Statue hiding in the background of the video. This Buddha cameo, accompanied by controversial video images and offensive song lyrics, was the last straw for Sri Lanka, and despite Akon’s apology and confirmation of ignorance on the matter, he remains banned.
1. Lily Allen
Lily Allen is no stranger when it comes to being outspoken. This English singer can pack a mean punch behind a sweet ‘Smile’, and when a photographer approached her on the wrong day he and Allen had a clashing which resulted in Allen’s US visa getting revoked. In 2007, when Allen flew to the Los Angeles Airport en route to her American Tour, she was detained for 5 hours, turned around and searched by security for her alleged assault earlier that year. Aggravated by the entire experience Allen swore that she would return to perform for her fans once her visa got sorted out.