The Lebanese have grown used to Beirut being used as a synonym for destruction and violence. But an episode of the hit US drama Homeland was apparently one negative portrayal too far, and now the government is threatening to sue the makers of the show.
The country's tourism minister, Fadi Abboud, hit out at the show for its "lies" following the airing of the latest episode of the Golden Globe-winning show, which featured Beirut as its backdrop.
In the episode in question, the show's heroine – CIA agent Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes (pictured) – dodges bullets and flees turban-wearing bad guys on rooftops across the city.
"This kind of film damages the image of Lebanon – it is not fair to us and it's not true, it is not portraying reality," Mr Abboud told Executive magazine. "We want to take action, we want... an apology. And we are planning to raise a lawsuit against the director and the producer." Mr said that the show, which is broadcast in 20 countries worldwide, could harm Lebanon's already beleaguered tourism industry.
"This series has a lot of viewers and if you are promoting Lebanon as a non-secure zone it will affect tourism. It will mean a lot of foreigners stay away if they are convinced by what they see," he said.
The show's portrayal of Hamra Street, in particular, has irked many. The busy shopping street in the west of the city is perhaps Beirut's most famous thoroughfare, known for its bars and coffee shops– a stark contrast to the dilapidated alley in which terrorists battled it out in Homeland.