Updated Jul 17, 2023, 4:43pm EDT
South America

Colombian government posts, then deletes, ‘Barbie’ TikTok

Screenshots from the TikTok posted by the Colombian president's account, one showing a clip from the Barbie movie, another showing the president of Colombia.
Screenshot via TikTok/@presidenciadecolombia

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The News

Forget ”Barbenheimer.”

The biggest double feature this week is the release of Barbie and the celebration of Colombian Independence Day.

At least, that’s according to a TikTok posted over the weekend by the Colombian presidency, which hyped up an upcoming Independence Day celebration and Barbie’s release, with both falling on July 20.

But the post generated some controversy within Colombian political circles on social media, and was quickly taken down.

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Know More

The video, posted to the official TikTok account of the Colombian president’s office, contrasts Barbie’s shoes with a pair of muddy boots, and shows clips from the movie interspersed with photos of President Gustavo Petro and Vice President Francia Márquez.


Dua Lipa’s Dance the Night, which is featured on the Barbie soundtrack, plays over the video. Text written in the movie’s signature font invites the public to join the government at a July 20 sovereignty celebration on the island of San Andrés. (Last week, Colombia won a maritime border dispute against Nicaragua in international court over who has economic rights to San Andrés.)

The Colombian government clearly decided to ride the global hype train surrounding Barbie, which has been engaged in an exhaustive world press tour ahead of its release.

But the TikTok has become a point of controversy, according to Colombian media. Some, including opposing political parties, criticized the video for making light of the independence celebration, which doesn’t have similar themes to Barbie, El Tiempo reported.

Several tweets referred to the president as “Petro Barbie,” accusing him of ignoring more serious issues. His approval ratings fell to 33% last month.

The video was quickly taken down. Some reports questioned whether the government was at risk of copyright violations by using music and clips from the movie without permission.

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The View From Vietnam

While the Colombian government (briefly) leaned into the Barbie buzz, the movie has been a touchy subject for other world leaders.

Vietnam banned the film from being shown because a scene showed a scribbled cartoon map that Hanoi said includes the so-called “nine-dash line,” a U-shaped section of the South China Sea that China unilaterally claims as part of its territory, but that Vietnam rejects. The country accused the film of showing “offensive political imagery.”

(Warner Bros. Pictures said the movie wasn’t trying to make any kind of statement.)

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The View From The Philippines

The Philippines cleared the movie for release after a “meticulous review” of the map, that included consulting “a legal expert on the West Philippines Sea.”

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. told reporters that he didn’t see any issue with it, saying the movie is a ”work of fiction,” per Philstar.

“They said it’s a good [movie],” he said.