Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation (SCMR) said on Sunday that it is suspending Sheikh El-Hara, a popular TV talk show that airs during Ramadan, after a guest made racist comments during an episode that aired earlier this month.
A statement on the SCMR’s website said that the episode, which aired on 19 May, violated the media code of honour as well as morals and traditions, and included “offensive words and phrases that violate the right of the public to watch meaningful media.”
The show, which is broadcast by the privately-owned El-Qahera Wal Nas channel, will be suspended starting Monday, the statement said.
The episode featured an interview with well-known actor Maged El-Masry, in which he recounted a story where he was “pranked” by a friend, who set him up for a night-time rendezvous with three women. The actor was “shocked” to discover the women were “Africans,” referring to black sub-Saharans.
El-Masry – to laughter from the show’s host Basma Wahba – said that he kicked the women out of his car when he realised their ethnicity.
The episode drew widespread criticism on social media, with many accusing El-Masry and Wahba of racism.
Following the backlash, El-Masry told Youm 7 news website that he was only “joking” and did not intend to cause offense. “I am African too,” the actor said.
“I misspoke. I apologise to anyone who was offended,” he said.
The month of Ramadan in Egypt sees the airing of dozens of new TV shows.
Sheikh El-Harra, which is in its third season, has attracted millions of viewers.