Egyptian TV presenter apologises for insulting Moroccans on air

Marina Barsoum , Thursday 17 Jul 2014

In her daily TV show, Amany El-Khayat suggested Morocco made deals with Islamists and was driven financially by prostitution

Amany El-Khayat
Amany El-Khayat (Photo: courtesy of Amany El-Khayat offical Facebook page)

An Egyptian anchorwoman, Amany El-Khayat, apologised on Thursday for televised statements in which she claimed Morocco's king made a deal with Islamists in 2011 and that the country's economy is based on prostitution.

El-Khayat, who presents a morning show on privately owned channel ONTV, said that Morocco's King Mohammed VI brokered a power-sharing deal with Islamist leaders during the outbreak of the Arab revolts in early 2011 – a time when many Islamists were pushing for top positions across the Arab world.

She then added that Morocco's economy was based on prostitution and – as proof – asked the audience to Google the ranking of Morocco in terms of AIDS prevalence.

El-Khayat's statements went viral on social media websites and frustrated many Moroccans and Egyptians.

The TV station's owner, the Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, received a tweet from a Moroccan citizen asking him if he had seen El-Khayat's Thursday morning programme in which the comments were made.

Sawiris tweeted back, apologising and stressing that he did not see the show and that he will investigate the incident himself.

Hours later, El-Khayat along with her team posted on the show's official Facebook page to apologise to Morocco's government and people for the "misunderstanding" that happened during the show, adding that she only meant to criticise those who have abused the Islamic religion.

El-Khayat is an ardent, vocal opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists.

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef has mocked El-Khayat's controversial statements several times in his own TV programme El-Bernameg – once a popular weekly show but which was cancelled in June for what he described as difficulties with Egypt's current political climate.

Last month, another privately owned channel suspended two broadcasters – one for making light of mob sexual assaults against women in Cairo's Tahrir Square during celebrations for President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's inauguration and another for hanging up on Ethiopia's ambassador to Cairo during a live TV phone-in about Addis Ababa's ongoing Nile dam project.

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