(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — A “Lebanese born and bred” porn star sparked controversy after topping the charts as one of the biggest names in online porn.
21-year old Mia Khalifa reportedly grew up in Lebanon and moved to Maryland as a teenager before enrolling in University of Texas at El Paso as a history major.
Khalifa signed with an adult film agency and quickly grew into a top star, sparking controversy and mixed debate among Lebanese natives.
Beirut-based blogger Gino Raidy defended Khalifa, saying her career choice should be her own decision.
“I don’t really care what any of you think about her career choice, after all, it’s her body to do whatever she wants with,” he wrote.
Other Lebanese natives are upset and offended by her work, especially because she often boasts her Lebanese heritage on Twitter and Instagram, posting photographs of her Arabic tattoo that reads: “Koullouna lil-watan, lil’oula lil-‘alam.”
She also has another tattoo of the infamous Lebanese Forces cross on her wrist, the symbol of a Lebanese conservative Christian political party. When questioned about it, she replied: “I was born and raised there, I’m entitled to an opinion on the politics just like everyone else.”
According to Newsweek, Khalifa got the cross on her wrist two years ago after the October 2012 Beirut bombing in support of her father, “to show him, I’m on your side.”
In recent days, Khalifa has been under fire after several Beirut-based newspapers published news about her, and revealed photographs of her tattoos. She responded to negative articles by questioning the news value of her story.
“Doesn’t the Middle East have more important things to worry about besides me?” she asked on Twitter. “How about finding a president? Or containing ISIS?”
Khalifa’s parents have since responded to the story, blaming life “away from our homeland” for her career choice.
“We are probably paying the price of living away from our homeland; our kids had to adapt to societies that don’t resemble our culture, traditions and values,” the family statement said.
“Hence, we emphasize that we disassociate ourselves from her actions which do not reflect her family beliefs, her upbringing or her true Lebanese roots. We hope that she comes back to her senses as her image does not honor her family or her homeland — Lebanon.”
In September, Ogero Telecom, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Telecommunications, issued a decision requesting that six porn sites be blocked.
The said decision has sparked a series of comments from critics on social media; some considered the decision as a violation of their personal freedoms, deeming it as part of the series of rulings issued by ministries and other directories imposing censorship.
Lebanon is widely viewed as one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East, but the subject of adult film is often considered universally unacceptable.
But young Lebanese natives say they would rather see a Lebanese porn star then a “theocratic, extremist state.”
“I prefer to follow a Lebanese pornstar rather than a Lebanese politician anytime,” wrote Emma Freiha on Twitter.
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