Brad Pitt, Jay Z, Mos Def, and More Stars Banned From Countries

Rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) was reportedly denied entry to the U.S. and forced to cancel his upcoming tour. From Brad Pitt to Jay Z, see other stars who were told to keep out.

Dana Edelson/NBC, via Getty

Brad Pitt, Jay Z, Mos Def, and More Stars Banned From Countries

Rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) was reportedly denied entry to the U.S. and forced to cancel his upcoming tour. From the Philippines blocking Alec Baldwin to Malaysia prohibiting Beyoncé, see more stars who got kicked out of countries.

Dana Edelson/NBC, via Getty

Mos Def

Born Dante Terrell Smith, the 40-year-old Brooklyn native rose to prominence under the rap moniker Mos Def. Then, in 2012, he formally changed his name to Yasiin Bey as a testament to his Muslim faith. On May 13, however, the music festival Together Boston announced that Bey would be forced to cancel his appearance at the fest, as well as his upcoming tour, because immigration wasn't allowing him back into the U.S. "We regret to inform you that due to immigration / legal issues Yasiin Bey is unable to enter back into the United States and his upcoming U.S. tour has been canceled, including May 15th, Together Boston’s show at The Wilbur Theatre. Individual ticket refunds for this show are available at point of sale," the site said.

David Appleby/AP

Brad Pitt

You couldn’t call Brad Pitt the Chinese government’s favorite celebrity. After Pitt starred in the 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet, in which he plays an Austrian mountain climber who befriends the Dalai Lama during China’s takeover of Tibet, Pitt was reportedly banned from entering the country ever again. Despite his outlaw status, Pitt recently took to Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, to post a cryptic message: “It is the truth. Yup, I’m visiting,” prompting speculation that the actor could be entering the country soon. The message was taken down shortly afterward, however.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Miley Cyrus

Before startling us all with her S&M-themed performances—but a year after she shocked the world by posing naked for Vanity Fair at 15—Miley Cyrus was embroiled in a scandal of a different kind. The teen singer was photographed pulling her eyes into a slanted pose, along with a group of friends—including one who is apparently Asian-American. Asian-American groups were quick to condemn the pose as “racist,” and the Chinese government reportedly went so far as to ban the singer.

Adam Roundtree/AP


American stars just can’t catch a break in China. A Shanghai gig by Jay-Z was canceled in 2006 because of the Chinese Culture Ministry’s concern over the content of the rapper’s lyrics. A promoter named Sun Yun told the Shanghai Daily at the time, “Some of Jay-Z’s songs contain too much vulgar language.”

David McNew/AP

Chris Brown

You can probably guess the reason Chris Brown was not allowed to enter the U.K. in 2011 to perform at three scheduled tour dates—yep, it was for his 2009 beating of then-girlfriend Rihanna. Brown was denied a work visa to tour in the U.K. because of his criminal record. In a weird twist of fate, however, Rihanna was touring and partying in the U.K. that very same week.

Joe Cavaretta/AP

The Rolling Stones

In 1973, the Rolling Stones’ Pacific Tour was supposed to take them to Japan for the first time, but after witnessing the band’s riotous last tour—and expressing concern over Mick Jagger’s previous drug convictions—the Japanese Foreign Ministry ultimately decided not to let the Stones land in the country.

Vassi Koutsaftis/AP

Harrison Ford

Indiana Jones met his match in the form of the Chinese government after Harrison Ford testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in support of an independent Tibet in 1995. He was then banned from the country—but got his revenge by narrating the 2008 documentary Dalai Lama Renaissance.

Kevork Djansezian/AP

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin found himself in the role of “undesirable alien” in 2009 after making a joke about mail-order brides on the Late Show With David Letterman that the Philippines found less than humorous. “I think about getting a Filipino mail-order bride at this point, or a Russian one, I don’t care, I’m 51,” Baldwin told Letterman on air. The 30 Rock actor later apologized (sort of) for his joke, writing: “I apologize for the perceived insensitivity of that remark … I believe that most people understood that this was a joke and took it as such. (A dated reference, no doubt, and another sign of my advancing age.)” Nevertheless, the Filipino Bureau of Immigration issued an order calling Baldwin an “undesirable alien” and barring him from entering the Philippines.

Bebeto Matthews/AP

Martin Scorsese

And China strikes again. Director Martin Scorsese was banned from ever entering the nation after his film about the life of the 14th Dalai Lama, Kundun, was released.

Nelson Antoine/AP


Beyoncé found herself in a pickle shortly before a scheduled tour date in Malaysia in 2009, after local Muslim groups threatened protests over her skimpy attire and “sexy” routines. Decency laws in the country require female performers to be fully clothed from their shoulders to their knees, with no cleavage showing. Rather than flout those laws and face fines, as the Pussycat Dolls did in 2006, the singer decided to “postpone” the performance.

Pavel Golovkin/AP

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga also faced resistance from the conservative Muslim groups in Malaysia after her single “Born This Way” hit the airwaves in 2011. Malaysian leaders decided the lyrics “No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track, baby” were not acceptable. A year later, a Gaga performance in Indonesia was banned when police denied the singer a permit to perform in the capital.

Brian K. Diggs/AP

Richard Gere

Arbitrage actor Richard Gere is another in a long list of stars banned from China because of his support for the Tibetan independence movement and the Dalai Lama—and for his anti-China comments made on air during the 1993 Oscars.

Victoria Will/Invision/AP

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg’s extensive criminal record has gotten him banned from not one, not two, not even three, but four countries. The United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, and Norway have all declared ol’ Snoop a no-go in their countries—the latter because of a marijuana drug bust, and the other three simply because of his criminal record.

Rose Ogola/World Food Programme/AP

50 Cent

In 2005 a planned Canadian tour by rapper 50 Cent made Canadian Junior Foreign Minister Dan McTeague very, very nervous. McTeague expressed concern over 50’s criminal record, the killing of a man outside of the rapper’s last Toronto concert in 2003, and the surge in gun violence there. “Under our laws, he would be deemed criminally inadmissible,” McTeague declared.