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Saudi host under fire after ‘prank’ goes out of control

An alleged prank show went awry as two Saudi citizens were assaulted, leaving one hospitalized

Published: Updated:

A Saudi radio host is facing a lawsuit after a prank on the YouTube stars who host the show “Al-Fi’a al-Fala,” or “The Happy Group” in Arabic, went out of control, leaving one person hospitalized.

The prank targeted Mahmoud Ramadan and his cousin Ammar on Tuesday, with the former filing a complaint against Monsri in a Jeddah court.

“It all happened when Monsri invited me and my cousin Ammar Ramadan to a business dinner in a restaurant [in Jeddah],” Mahmoud told Al Arabiya News.

“When we arrived, two people who were looking for missing cellular phones approached us. Monsri argued with them and they walked away,” he added.

“But later, Monsri left the table and the two, accompanied with another eight to 10 muscular men, returned, beating us using chairs and dishes.”

“We acted like men when we defended ourselves,” he said, but described his cousin Ammar as “almost dying.”

Mahmoud, who said he is still bruised, said that his cousin has diabetes, blood pressure problems and has also undergone two cardiac catheterization operations in the past.

"My cousin’s situation was really bad and I was afraid he would die. I transferred him to a hospital then filed a complaint [with] the police who requested proof. We provided proof [of the cousin’s injuries] and they found witnesses in our favor.”

Before Ramadan sent his cousin to the hospital, Monsri allegedly sent the former a text message saying the incident was a prank.

After the incident, Mahmoud learned from the radio host’s friends that Monsri was in the process of filming a prank show, although the YouTube star told Al Arabiya News that he did not notice any cameras during the incident.

He also expressed surprise over the purported severity of the physical abuse, saying “that no prank show beats their guests in such way.”

Asked if Monsri had issues with him and planned the assault, he replied: “I don’t have any problems with Monsri…I have no idea.”

On Thursday, police summoned Monsri as part of their investigation after he failed to return the police’s phone calls, said Mahmoud.
Ramadan has rejected all mediators’ attempts to reconcile the situation with Monsri, said his cousin.

Kaswara al-Khatib, head of U-Turn productions - the company behind Mahmoud’s show - described what happened as “wrong” and added that “it shouldn’t have had happened.”

He said that the incident was “humiliating,” and unacceptable.