Skip to main content

Cate Blanchett's 'Palestine flag' dress on Cannes red carpet draws admiration

Social media users lauded the film star for what they said was a 'subtle' show of pro-Palestine solidarity at the Cannes Film Festival
Cate Blanchett at The Apprentice premiere in Cannes
Cate Blanchett at The Apprentice premiere in Cannes (AFP)

Oscar-winning Hollywood star Cate Blanchett has sparked online debate by wearing a dress that appeared to reference the colours of the Palestine flag when she was photographed on the red carpet in Cannes.

The Australian actor, famous for her role in The Lord of the Rings, attended the premiere of The Apprentice, a docudrama about former US President Donald Trump, at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday.

Blanchett wore a Haider Ackermann for Jean Paul Gaultier spring 2023 haute couture bustier dress. The floor-length gown with a strapless neckline had a black front, a green silk lining on the inside and a subtle light pink back that photographed as white.

The actor posed on the red carpet by displaying the dress's inner green lining - leading online commentators to speculate she was making a subtle pro-Palestine gesture.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


"When I grow up I want to become Cate Blanchett, and have the subtlety to think the carpet is already red, so I can just wear a black and white dress with green lining to make such a strong point," academic Zahira Jaser posted on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

"She is THE woman," said another user in a post that has received 126,000 likes and over two million views.

Calling for a ceasefire

Blanchett has voiced strong opposition to Israel's war on Gaza.

On 20 October, she was one of 55 prominent figures in the entertainment industry who signed an open letter calling for a ceasefire - "an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages".

Then, on 8 November, the actor called for a ceasefire before the European Parliament in her role as goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency.

On social media, some users criticised the praise Blanchett received for her appearance in Cannes. "This is not bravery, this is pageantry," said one X user.

"Actual bravery is being practiced by Palestinians in Palestine for generations".

A few social media users also accused the Hollywood actor of wearing a "Hamas" dress.

Others, meanwhile, praised what they saw as Blanchett's subtlety. Political analyst Hafsa Halawa called Blanchett's dress choice "genius", describing it as "undermining the censors using their own red carpet".

Jaser agreed, arguing that "subtlety has long legs and can walk where directness is not allowed".

Among her fans, Blanchett's dress continues to draw praise.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.