Netflix accused of ‘blackwashing’ Cleopatra: ‘She was light-skinned’

Egyptian experts have criticized Netflix for “blackwashing” its upcoming docu-series about Queen Cleopatra VII.

Now, they’re taking action to see that the show never airs — by banning the streaming giant from the country completely.

“African Queens: Queen Cleopatra” is narrated and executive produced by Jada Pinkett Smith, 51, and stars Adele James, 27, who is biracial, as the legendary queen of Egypt, whose specific race has long been the subject of historical dispute.

Pinkett Smith previously explained that she wanted to be involved in the project because she “really wanted to represent Black women.”

But Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who previously served as the nation’s antiquities minister, is not happy with the “completely fake” portrayal of the famous queen, who he claims was wholly Greek — and “not black.” He’s accused Netflix of “trying to provoke confusion by spreading false and deceptive facts that the origin of the Egyptian civilization is black.”

“Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was light-skinned, not black,” the archaeologist told the Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper, per a BBC report on Wednesday.

Adele James, 27, portrays Queen Cleopatra VII in the series.

Jada Pinkett Smith narrates and executive produces the series.
Jada Pinkett Smith narrates and executive produces Netflix’s “African Queens: Queen Cleopatra.”

In addition, lawyer Mahmoud al-Semary filed a complaint Sunday with the country’s public prosecutor to demand that Netflix be blocked in Egypt, claiming they are trying to “promote the Afrocentric thinking … which includes slogans and writings aimed at distorting and erasing the Egyptian identity.”

A petition titled “Cancel Netflix’s ‘Queen Cleopatra’” has more than 3,200 signatures on Another petition for the cause that allegedly garnered 85,000 signatures was meanwhile removed from

The official trailer, which was released last week, stirred up so much controversy that its YouTube comments have been turned off. The clip has over 2 million views.

We know that Cleopatra was born in Alexandria in 69 B.C., and was the last ruler of a Macedonian Greek dynasty that began with Alexander the Great’s general Ptolemy. And while the identity of Cleopatra’s mother is not known, it’s been speculated that she, as well as other female ancestors, may have been indigenous to Africa.

Netflix, Jada Pinkett Smith slammed for 'blackwashing' Cleopatra series
A lawyer is pushing for Netflix’s services to be blocked in Egypt.

Netflix previously addressed Cleopatra’s debatable racial background head-on, reminding viewers that in her time, “Egypt’s population was multicultural and multiracial.”

“The creative choice to cast a biracial actor to play Cleopatra is a nod to the centuries-long conversation about the ruler’s race,” explained a news release on the platform’s “Tudum” site.

For their part, Netflix consulted its own Egyptologist, Sally Ann Ashton, in preparation for the series. She called it “strange” to depict Cleopatra as wholly European.

“Cleopatra ruled in Egypt long before the Arab settlement in North Africa. If the maternal side of her family were indigenous women, they would’ve been African, and this should be reflected in contemporary representations of Cleopatra,” Ashton stated.

Netflix, Jada Pinkett Smith slammed for 'blackwashing' Cleopatra series
The two-minute official trailer was uploaded on April 12 and has over 2 million views — but comments have been disabled.

Following backlash prompted by the trailer, James addressed the hateful comments she received on social media, including one that claimed: “Cleopatra was a queen, not a slave.” She told fans to skip the show if don’t approve of her as the lead.

“Just FYI, this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated on my account,” she said of the nasty screenshots. “You will be blocked without hesitation!!! If you don’t like the casting don’t watch the show. Or do & engage in (expert) opinion different to yours. Either way, I’M GASSED and will continue to be!”

The Post has requested further comment from reps for Netflix, Pinkett Smith and James.

“Queen Cleopatra” premieres on Netflix on May 10.