Controversy has been sparked again after a censored episode of Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef’s show “El-Bernameg” (“The Program”) was leaked on the internet Wednesday.
Egyptian satellite TV channel CBC took Youssef off air in November after he made fun of army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
“A lot of people got mad at us for mentioning a certain person without being really pleasant to him,” Youssef said in the episode.
“We apparently offended his supporters everywhere, even though we do love him,” Youssef added.
In the video, the satirist mentions a CBC report that he used obscene language and mocked “the symbols of the Egyptian state.”
There is “absolutely no problem” with CBC, Youssef said. “We’re all one family, one hand, and hopefully this report won’t have any impact on our relation,” he added sarcastically.
Youssef also mocked the Muslim Brotherhood during the show, as well as the way analysts reported on the life of former President Mohammad Mursi since his ouster.
“They left out all the important things and focused on his food, boxers and shoes,” Youssef said.
During the show, he described Al-Jazeera as “a teenage channel.”
The show’s producers do not know who released the video, “El-Bernameg” spokesman Ahmed Fathy told Al Arabiya News Channel, adding that there is an internal investigation.
Only two copies of the episode are available, one owned by CBC, the other by the production company, Fathy said.
Egyptian daily news website Al-Ahram quoted Mohammad al-Amin, CBC chairman of the board of directors, as saying: “I can’t comment on the case out of respect for the judiciary, which is currently reviewing the incident.”
Youssef’s program has often stirred controversy, making him the target of many legal complaints.
His popularity peaked during Mursi’s rule, when he and his Islamist allies were the target of weekly jokes for mixing religion and politics.
Youssef’s production company Osoft terminated its contract with CBC less than a week after it took the show off air.
Social media reactions
The leaked video sparked controversy online.
Responding to the hash tag #BassemYoussef’sEpisode, Twitter users showed their support for him.
“You are missed,” wrote @Marina_Nabil, while @DodoEsam88 wrote: “amazing as usual.”
The censored episode “is beyond amazing in all meanings,” wrote @Hassamramadan20.
However, some users viewed the episode as disrespectful to CBC.
“That is exactly why he got censored … cursing and making fun of the channel which broadcast your show is unacceptable,” @Nazi_a7yanan wrote.
“Is that what makes them laugh?” asked @Aya_Nooor