Cairo: A celebrated Egyptian TV host has triggered an outcry in the country and faces a court trial after she criticized fat people on her popular show.
Late last week, Reham Saeed, noted for controversial TV shows, addressed the overweight problem on her programme “Sabaya” (Young Girls) on the private Egyptian television Al Hayat. “The fat people are like the dead. They are a burden on their families and the state,” the slender 44-year-old host-cum-actress said. “You don’t look good when you wear the abaya (a flowing garment) and are unable to walk. You lose part of your femininity,” she added, addressing overweight women.
The remarks brought Reham under sharp criticism, with the detractors accusing her of defaming the country’s women.
The state-appointed National Council for Women lodged a complaint with a governmental media regulator against Reham. The watchdog, officially named the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, said it would quiz the host over the incident.
An Egyptian court meanwhile scheduled October 14 for the start of hearings on a lawsuit accusing Reham of insulting obese people and spreading false news.
On its part, Al Hayat TV said it had suspended the embattled host and its show until the Supreme Council for Media Regulation completes questioning her.
In response, Reham made a public apology, but said she did not mean to offend fat people.
“I apologize to all people who have got angry with me out of misunderstanding,” she said in a Facebook statement.
She claimed that there is a “systematic” campaign against her.
“Therefore, I’ve decide to stop working in the media and acting any more,” Reham said.
“The time has come for me to take rest and take care of my children.”
The current trouble is the latest in a string of problems that have hit Reham, who has performed in several local TV serials.
Last year, she was arrested on charges of inciting the abduction of children to appear on the programme. She was released later.
In August 2017, Egypt’s Media Syndicate suspended her for three months over an alleged breach of professional and ethical rules after she hosted a married woman and her boyfriend, an episode that drew ire in the conservative country.
In 2015, Rreham sparked outrage after she appeared on her show distributing relief aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon while accusing them of being responsible for the “loss” of their war-wracked country.