Leila Hatami, a popular Iranian actress, is in headlines today after cameras caught her giving the customary double-cheek kiss at Cannes to festival president Gilles Jacob.
Iranian deputy culture minister Hossein Noushabadi is outraged that Hatami would kiss a man who isn’t her husband in public view, saying that it damages the reputation of Iranian women who are meant to be seen as chaste and innocent.
“Those who attend international events should take heed of the credibility and chastity of Iranians so that a bad image of Iranian women will not be demonstrated to the world,” he said.
Jacob responded to the backlash on Twitter, saying that a Western custom shouldn’t interfere with the way all Iranian women are viewed.
“I kissed Mrs Hatami on the cheek. At that moment, for me she represented all Iranian cinema, then she became herself again. The controversy over a usual custom in the West has therefore no reason to be,” he wrote.
Hatami is a judge on the Palme d’Or prize jury at Cannes this year and has also made waves with her mode of dress at the festival; although she was wearing a head scarf in the photo with Jacob, her neck was uncovered, which is considered improper in Iran.
Hatami has not responded to the backlash, but Twitter has.
Idiot Iranian culture minister thinks actress's kiss on cheek at Cannes premier shows 'bad image' of Iranian women http://t.co/eZEXbO5WUx
— John Lubbock (@jwsal) May 20, 2014
Shima Shahrabi on Leila Hatami's fatal Cannes kiss & how she chose civility over prof expedience: http://t.co/VcjTKKn8Ts
— Azadeh Moaveni (@AzadehMoaveni) May 20, 2014
Going on @BBC5live to discuss Leila Hatami's small kiss that made big headlines. Tune in 11pm: http://t.co/41qHE3bGi6 pic.twitter.com/koBlTeWZ87
— Negar Mortazavi نگار (@NegarMortazavi) May 19, 2014
The stupidity never ends. Leila Hatami is in trouble w/authorities in Tehran for kissing Cannes director on the cheek http://t.co/Gh6mePEgT6
— Raquel E Saraswati (@RaquelEvita) May 19, 2014
Image via Wikimedia Commons