Renowned Iraqi actress Enas Taleb told Al Arabiya that she will sue British newspaper The Economist for publishing a picture of her in reference to a story about “fat women” in the Arab world.
“I am demanding compensation for the emotional, mental and social damage this incident has caused me,” she said.
The 42-year-old actress said that the image was used out of context and without permission. She also claimed that the image was photoshopped.
The article, titled ‘Why Women Are Fatter Than Men in the Arab World,’ is at the center of Taleb’s legal claim. It claims that poverty and society are the reasons behind overweight women in the Arab world.
The article was published on July 28 and the main image used carries the watermark of the American visual media company that licenses stock pictures, Getty Images.
The image was reportedly taken nine months ago at the Babylon International Festival in Iraq.
The article has faced strong criticism on social media for being racist and sexist.
Al Arabiya English has reached out to The Economist for comment.
The Iraqi actress and talk show host also told Al Arabiya that she had faced “bullying comments” on social media.
She also called the article an “insult to the Arab woman in general and Iraqi women in particular,” asking why the publication took interest in women in the Arab world “and not in Europe or the USA.”
“They did not know that I’m a celebrity and a public figure,” she said, adding that “I can turn crises into gains.”
She shared a video on her Instagram account, which has nine million followers, in which her British lawyer talked about “the defamation case against The Economist.”
“Today I have issued a letter of claim on behalf of my client demanding apology on her behalf for serious harm caused to her and her career by publication of her photograph,” the lawyer said.
Iraqi MP and former cabinet minister Evan Gabro urged solidarity with Taleb “after the insult to her and to Iraqi and Arab women.”
“The Iraqi woman will remain majestic and beautiful in the eyes of the world,” she said.
Zahraa Ghandour, an Iraqi actress and filmmaker, also denounced “the arrogant perspective of the Western media” which she said has a tendency to “reinforce stereotypes.”