Only four days after his comeback episode aired, almost half of Bassem Youssef’s viewers said they supported taking his satirical show “Al-Bernameg” off the air, even before a decision was issued to suspend it, according to a recent poll.
Forty-four percent of respondents said they wanted the show canceled and 48 percent disagreed, a poll by Baseera, a recently established Egyptian organization for researching public opinion, showed.
Baseera, which polled 1964 people aged 18 and older by telephone between October 30 and 31, said 8 percent of respondents were undecided,
The poll was conducted before CBC issued a decision to suspend the show on November 1, the night the second episode was scheduled to air.
Respondents aged 50 and older constituted 53 percent of those supporting the suspension of the show, as opposed to 37 percent of those aged 18–29.
Youssef’s comeback episode impressed 35 percent of the respondents, while 13 percent said they liked the show overall but not that episode. Fifty-two percent said they don’t like the show overall.
A similar poll was conducted in April 2013, when half the respondents said they did not like the show.
Respondents who did not like the show said it mocked state figures and included obscene language and sexual innuendos.
On Friday, CBC issued a statement suspending “Al-Bernameg,” saying the episode’s content was in “violation of what had been agreed upon.”
CBC said that the violations in the second episode indicate “the persistence of the producer and the presenter in going against CBC’s editorial policy,” the statement read.
According to CBC’s statement, the program’s producer did not commit to producing the agreed upon number of episodes in the first year despite receiving his full payment, and he asked for more money to produce new episodes, which was in violation of the contract.
In response, the company that produces “Al-Bernameg” issued a statement saying it was not notified of the show’s suspension and that it had committed to the number of episodes stated in the contract, which it did not in any way violate.
In the statement, the “Al-Bernameg” team and the production company apologized to viewers for the banning of the episode, but said its content did not violate any legal or ethical standards.
The company denied any negotiations between it and other channels to air the show and said it is working on containing the situation in a professional manner.
In his much anticipated comeback episode, Youssef mocked ousted President Mohamed Morsi and those who still speak of his return, as well as the pro-military government and those who idolize the army, although he did not criticize Abdel Fattah al-Sisi directly.
Two days later, four complaints had been filed against Youssef for insulting the military, employing sexual innuendo, spreading chaos and threatening security by “insulting the June 30 revolution.”