Egypt’s Media Syndicate issued a decision banning controversial prank show host and actor Ramez Galal from appearing on any media outlet broadcasted inside the country until the regularisation of his legal status.
According to a statement on Wednesday, Media Syndicate head Tarek Seda said Galal was making appearances as a presenter on MBC Masr without being a syndicate member or having a license to practice the profession.
Seda said Galal has carried out a number of “violations” on his Ramadan prank show ‘Ramez Is Officially Crazy’, and referred to an earlier condemnation of the show by Egypt’s top mental health hospital over what it described as the negative impact the show could have on people’s mental health.
It is not yet clear if the syndicate’s decision will be implemented.
‘Ramez Is Officially Crazy’ tricks Egyptian and Arab celebrities into attending what they think will be a talk show in Dubai, only to find themselves strapped into a moving chair and ordered by Galal to repeat phrases glorifying him or demeaning themselves.
If they refuse, they are threatened with electric shocks or a live snake.
Since it started airing with the beginning of Ramadan, the show has triggered widespread criticism, with legal complaints calling for its suspension due to its "sadistic" and "inappropriate" content.
Despite the criticism, MBC network said it will not be suspending the prank show by Galal.
MBC spokesman Mazen Hayek said on Tuesday that the show has garnered 120 million views on YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat in the first two days of Ramadan, in addition to its high TV viewership.
“If you don’t like it, we respect your opinion; don’t watch, but you can’t deprive millions of people from watching it… because others like it,” the spokesman of the private TV satellite said in response to the wave of disapproval.