A psychiatric hospital has demanded the cancellation of the newest season of Ramez Galal’s controversial prank show, saying it promotes narcissism, bullying and sadism.
Galal’s contentious show on MBC Masr, which airs every year during Ramadan, sees the host take extreme measures to scare and torture his celebrity guests, this year including electric shocks.
The Abbasia Mental Hospital in Egypt have now issued a two-page, seven-point statement condemning Galal’s prank show.
“The title of the show (‘Ramiz Magnun Rasmi’ [‘Ramez is officially crazy’]) is insulting to mental illness and those who are mentally ill, and it increases the stigma around mental illness, which the country is trying hard to erase, as per the law of caring for the mental patient, No 71, from the year 2009,” they wrote.
They added that the show can negatively impact a child’s psychology, as young children learn behaviour not through what they are told, but by copying what they see.
The statement said that such pranks shows and their hosts often involve traits of narcissism, sadism and bullying — which, they said, can be symptoms of mental disorders.
“There is an imminent danger to Egyptian citizens, of seeing a conditional link between torture by electrocution or other sadistic means, show in the programme, with pleasure, fun, and laughter, which represents incitement to criminal behaviour and filming it as satire,” they wrote.
When it comes to the celebrity guests and victims of the pranks, the hospital presented two possibilities — that the guests have no idea what they are getting into, which can lead to psychological damage, or that they are aware in advance and agree on the basis of financial gain, which the hospital says sends the wrong message that humiliation, submission and self-contempt is acceptable in exchange for money.
They also said the show can normalise such acts and desensitise viewers to their dangers, or lead to challenges where people might film such segments at home.
“We request His Excellency the Egyptian General Counsel and the Supreme Media Council to intervene immediately and open an urgent investigation into the matter, and to form a committee from the National Council for Mental Health to study stopping this programme,” they wrote.
The statement from the Abbasia Mental Hospital comes amid ongoing social media backlash against the programme and viewer demands to cancel the show, which has happened in previous seasons.