Egyptian social media users expressed anger towards television anchorwoman Reham Saeed after she aired private photographs of a woman who was attacked in a Cairo mall.
Saeed, who hosts the popular and contentious television show Sabaya al-Kheir on the privately owned Al-Nahar channel, interviewed a woman on Tuesday who was slapped by a man in a Heliopolis mall.
The woman criticized security at the mall for failing to take any action against the man and made several television appearances to talk about her ordeal.
Security cameras at the mall captured the man following the woman, Somaya Tarek, before engaging her in a short altercation that ended with him slapping her twice across the face.
Tarek claimed the man is known in the area, which is why both the police and mall security refused to arrest him.
But Saeed criticized Tarek for her dress sense, blaming the incident on her “revealing clothes.”
She then went even further, airing personal photos of Tarek on the beach in a bikini with a man holding her, and others with her holding a bottle of whisky or appearing to be scantily clad.
“If I’m conducting an interview at the American University in Cairo, my dress code will be different than if I’m going to Matareya. Do you think that your dress code was appropriate?” Saeed asked Tarek during the interview.
Saeed claimed the director of the show received several pictures of Tarek on WhatsApp and said she was disappointed by what she saw.
“Just as there are harassers in the streets, some girls have really gone off limits. You won’t like this, but this is the truth. Keep your girls in check and they won’t be [harassed],” she said.
Saeed continued: “I would have been really mistaken if I overreacted and criticized the police and mall security had these photos not been sent to me. We should not believe everything we see.”
In response, Tarek wrote on Facebook, “I will soon reply to everything that happened, and believe me, I will take my rights and the rights of every free honorable woman, because we are free, not slaves to dirty media that slanders people.”
A wave of anger against Saeed on Twitter ensued, with users creating the hashtag #موتي_يا_ريهام (Die Reham), which was first launched by activist Wael Abbas.
Head of the Haqanya Center for Advocacy and Law Mohamed Abdel Aziz said 15 rights lawyers are ready to offer Tarek legal support in her fight against both her attacker and Saeed.
“Demand an immediate reaction from the National Council for Human Rights against Reham Saeed for privacy violation,” Abdel Aziz tweeted, asserting that the council is complicit in the incident, as they didn’t release a statement of support for Tarek.
Saeed has also come under fire for a number of other incidents recently. In September, she was criticized for insulting the Syrian people after filming in a refugee camp in Lebanon and calling Syrian refugees disrespectful, lost and ruined while handing them food and clothes.
As refugees reached into the back of Saeed’s truck for clothes, she said over a dramatic soundtrack, “As you can see, we have lost control and they are attacking the car … These are the people who are dispossessed, who are divided, and ruined. This is the fate of people whose country is destroyed … They leave their children on the ground and fight each other.”
The video sparked a backlash on social media, with prominent journalist Yosri Fouda calling Saeed the “sewer of the media” in a post on his Facebook page.
In another incident in which Saeed interviewed an atheist, she shouted at her and threw her out of the studio. While the woman attempted to discuss her views respectfully, asserting the Quran was written by human beings, Saeed retorted, “Stop saying this, or I will remove it from the edit.”
When Saeed’s guest said she believed Prophet Mohamed did not receive teachings from God and that he made them up, Saeed lost it. “You are the one making things up, you’re speaking out of ignorance,” she fumed.
When the woman told Saeed she would leave if she insulted her again, the television presenter retorted, “Get out, I wasted my time talking to a lunatic.”