How Lebanon is reacting to the news that one of the world's most popular porn stars is home-grown

Mia Khalifa. (Mia Khalifa via Instagram)

BEIRUT — Lebanon is a small country with a population of just four million people, so when one of its own achieves success on the world stage it’s usually a cause for celebration.

But it appears there may be exceptions to the rule. The country that reacted with an outpouring of national pride when human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin (now Clooney) became a household name last year is not quite sure how to deal with the news that a Lebanese-American has become one of the most popular porn stars in the world.

Twenty-one-year-old Mia Khalifa, who was born in Lebanon but now lives in Miami, Florida, recently became the most searched for adult performer on the website PornHub.

Khalifa's achievement has caused a bit of a stir in Lebanon, becoming a main topic of conversation on social media in the past few days. Some didn’t approve.


Others were uncomfortable for different reasons. Juliana Yazbeck, writing for NOW Lebanon, said she worried what effect Khalifa's newfound fame might have for women in Lebanon.

For someone who has struggled so much to assert their presence as a human being with a working, thinking brain, I cannot deny that I felt a pang of despair when Mia erupted across social media and entertainment news. It never even crossed my mind to think, “she doesn’t have the right.” What did cross my mind was: “Really? Of the very few Lebanese women who are making global headlines, it had to be a porn star?” It felt like I had traveled for months, and just as I was nearing my destination, someone used my passport to wipe their ass, undoing all my hard work and sending me back to square one.

Of course, she was not without her supporters.

Gino Raidy, a Lebanese blogger, wrote:

I think it’s pretty great that at a time when the Lebanese government and authorities are following in the footsteps of our ultra-conservative Arab counterparts and banning porn sites in Lebanon, one of our own topped the charts of the biggest names in online porn.

Then there was this guy.

The fuss didn’t appear to bother Khalifa too much.