Television show host Reham Saeed will be returning to Egyptian television screens despite nationwide outrage at her decision to air private and allegedly stolen photographs of a victim of sexual harassment.
In a press release, Al-Nahar said that Saeed’s show, Sabaya El-Kheir, will return because of its humanitarian and nationalistic achievements. The television channel said that the show had helped citizens in need and had often been charitable.
Al-Nahar did not clarify when the show will return to air.
Exactly one month ago, Al-Nahar suspended the television show over an episode in which Saeed publicly aired the private photographs of a woman, Somaya Tarek, who had been physically assaulted and sexually harassed.
The television network expressed its apologies to all those who were offended by Saeed’s episode and stressed its respect for all women and girls, adding that they are “the crown on our heads” and that “we will continue to respect and value them.” The suspension came after at least a dozen major advertisers pulled all sponsorship of Saeed’s show.
Following the outrage, the television show’s producer defended the decision to air the private photographs, stating that it was a “lesson for all girls”. In statements, the producer said that they wanted to teach girls not to take “such photographs”.
The photographs were aired after Saeed interviewed Somaya Tarek, who had been harassed and slapped twice by a man at a Heliopolis mall. After listening to Tarek’s account of the altercation, Saeed asked her, “Don’t you think your clothing was somewhat inappropriate for a place like a mall? Maybe your clothes gave the man the impression that you’re not a ‘good girl.’”
Saeed took the victim-blaming one step further by later airing private photographs of Tarek wearing a bathing suit on a beach, holding a bottle of alcohol in a car and another photograph that appears to have been taken in Tarek’s bedroom, saying Tarek should not be surprised that she was harassed.
While Saeed claimed to have received these photographs through WhatsApp, Tarek said Sabaya El-Kheir’s production team stole the photographs from her phone while she was in the studio with Saeed.
The anchor later denied these accusations, warning that she could have revealed much more.
Following the backlash and back-and-forth between Saeed and Tarek, social media erupted with outrage over the anchor’s actions. The top trending hashtag on Twitter in the immediate wake of the incident was #موتي_يا_ريهام (Die Reham) and several petitions began circulating on Facebook to take Sabaya El-Kheir off the air and take Saeed to court. One such petition has already garnered 108,000 supporters.
Meanwhile, the man who sexually harassed and slapped Tarek has been sentenced to one month in prison.