Even before the film’s release, Hollywood director Michael Bay’s new action movie is stirring controversy among government officials and residents of Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and the birthplace of the uprising against longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
The film, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, depicts the events of the September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. It is set to be released in January 2016.
Based only on the trailer, which has recently made rounds on Libya’s social media, Benghazi locals and officials slammed Transformersdirector Bay for his unreleased film, calling it an “insult” to the north African nation.
“The people of Benghazi always wanted to be part of the international community,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman for Libya’s internationallyrecognized government Salah Belnaba said.
But Bay’s new action flick, he said, sends a message that they are “fanatical and ignorant.” The film follows a group of ex-military security contractors trying to save American lives in a dusty and hostile Benghazi.The trailer shows the contractors entering the city of Benghazi and quickly turns to shots of explosions, gun-wielding militants, and the Americans suiting up for battle.
“We will not allow the American media to destroy our reputation (using) the film industry,” Benghazi resident Mohamed Kawiri said in a Facebook post shared by hundreds calling for a boycott of the “cheap” movie.
The film portrays the contractors, “who actually failed to secure the ambassador … as heroes,” Libya’s Culture and Information Minister, Omar Gawaari, exclaimed.
Bay, Gawaari said, “turned America’s failure to protect its own citizens in a fragile state into a typical action movie all about American heroism.”