The Egyptian government said Netflix's "Queen Cleopatra" documentary is a "falsification of Egyptian history and blatant historical misconception," criticizing the film's portrayal of the queen as black.
(Netflix disabled the YouTube comments on the trailer... I wonder why)
Egypt's Ministry of Tourism contested Cleopatra had "Hellenistic (Greek) features, in terms of light complexion, drawn nose, and fluffy lips," sharing images of various artifacts to support their claims.
"The film is classified as a documentary and not a drama, the order that the owners of its industry have to investigate accuracy and refer to historical and scientific facts in order to ensure that the history and civilizations of peoples is not falsified," said Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Archeology.
Dr. Nasser Mekkawy, head of the Egyptian Department of Archeology at Cairo University also said Cleopatra would have been light-skinned due to her Macedonian-Greek heritage.
Zahi Hawass, Cairo's former antiquities minister, said the documentary is "completely fake."
"Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was light-skinned, not black," Hawass said. "Netflix is trying to provoke confusion by spreading false and deceptive facts that the origin of the Egyptian civilization is black."
Egyptian actress and singer Somaya Elkhashab also criticized the film's portrayal of the queen.
"Identifying Queen Cleopatra as black for fulfilling modern African American fantasies is pure theft of egyptian history and yet an attempt to rewrite history's greats," Elkhashab said.
Executive Producer Jada Pinkett Smith said she wanted Cleopatra played by a black woman because "we don't often get to see or hear stories about black queens."
Director Tina Gharavi said she realized it would be a "political act ... to see Cleopatra portrayed by a black actress."
"Why shouldn't Cleopatra be a melanated sister? And why do some people need Cleopatra to be white?" Gharavi said. "Her proximity to whiteness seems to give her value, and for some Egyptians it seems to really matter."
"So, was Cleopatra black? We don't know for sure, but we can be certain she wasn't white like Elizabeth Taylor (who played the queen in a 1963 film)."
"We need to have a conversation with ourselves about our colorism, and the internalized white supremacy that Hollywood has indoctrinated us with."
Some other potential films Netflix might be interested in making:
I'm sure some of these are in production already.