A screenshot for TV anchor Riham al-Saeed on al-Nahar private TV channel.
CAIRO, Oct. 30 (Aswat Masriya) – Al-Nahar TV Network announced Friday the suspension of Sabaya al-Kheir TV programme hosted by controversial anchorwoman Riham Saeed, who resigned amid public outrage against her for airing personal photos of a guest on her show without her permission.
In a statement, Al-Nahar's administration apologized to viewers who were offended by the controversial episode and said that an extensive investigation will be conducted into the case.
An employee at the TV station, who preferred to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed Saeed's resignation. There has been no public reaction from the managment, but news reports have also said that Saeed retracted her resignation after announcing it on the official page of her TV show on Facebook, then deleted the post.
Last Tuesday, Saeed hosted Somaya Tarek, who claims to have been harassed by a man in a Heliopolis mall. The video footage of the incident showed Tarek walking in a mall a few steps behind a man, speaking on her cell phone. The man then turns to face her and after exchanging a few words with her, he suddenly slaps her twice before security guards push him away.
On her show, Saeed appeared to defend the man and blame the woman, implying that Tarek "has brought it on herself" as Saeed showed personal photos of her including ones of her on the beach without her knowledge. Within the context of alleged harassment, displaying these photos seemed to implicate the victim.
Tarek said that photos were taken from her cell phone without permission by Saeed’s production team. She had left the phone with them to charge it before airtime.
The incident infuriated social media users who started a hashtag on Twitter calling for Saeed's prosecution and for suspending her show, especially after Saeed responded to the public outcry by claiming that she is the epitome of professionalism and emphasizing that there are always two sides to any story.
She further interviewed the assaulter's sister on air, who claimed that her brother only slapped her when Tarek insulted him with expletives
On the heels of the public condemnation of Saeed’s programme, major advertisers including Al Marai, Pampers, Downy, Evy Baby, Vatika, Persil, Aloe Eva, Fine Tissues, Tornado Elaraby, Chipsy, Freska, Dove, Beyti and Vitrac, withdrew their sponsorship of the program and announced that they are not responsible for the content.
Saeed has long stirred controversy on social media. Last September, she raised a firestorm of anger while on a "humanitarian" mission to support Syrian refugees in Lebanon whom she described as "ruined" as video footage showed them snatching food and clothes from an assistance truck.
The episode sparked public indignation for what was believed to be an “insult” to refugees.