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UK's Stringfellows denies Egypt expansion

Earlier reports about a Cairo franchise were met with an angry reaction on social media

Published: Updated:

A popular Egyptian news website on Tuesday became the victim of an April Fools’ Day prank, publishing a parody piece by an entertainment magazine stating that a branch of international strip club chain Stringfellows would shortly open in Cairo.

The initial report, carried by CairoScene entertainment magazine, said the controversial club would open in the Egyptian capital’s upscale Zamalek district later this month.

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While evidently a parody - with the Stringfellows spokeswoman quoted by the name of “L’Aprille Loof” - the Egyptian Youm7 news website published the story, failing to contact the strip club chain for verification.

CairoScene’s parody piece - published on the occasion of April Fools’ Day, April 1 - claimed that religious attitudes have long prevented strip clubs from opening in Cairo, forcing people there to settle for the more socially-acceptable belly-dancing clubs.

“We are really excited about the launch and can’t wait to show the Cairo public what we've got. We've brought in some international talent from our clubs around the world but most of the girls on stage are Egyptian - we wanted to give the venue a real local flavour,” CairoScene quoted the purported Stringfellows spokeswoman as saying.

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Flamboyant

“Our club is very high-end and guarantees a great night out for guys, girls and couples. We really want to bring the Stringfellows A-class experience to Egypt and we believe that Egyptians - from the customers to employees - are going to love it,” Loof added.

Youm7 news website reported on the story as fact, not attributing the article to Cairo Scene but to “social media” reports. The article was a close translation to the original, adding that strip clubs are illegal in Egypt for moral and religious reasons.

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On Thursday, Stringfellows denied that it was expanding to Egypt, a day after reports suggested that it was opening Cairo’s first lap dancing venue.

“It is definitely not Stringfellows,” a spokesman told Al Arabiya News.

While fake, the story triggered angry reactions among Egyptian on Twitter and Facebook. While many dismissed it as a joke, others vowed to tear it down.

“When it opens, I will be the first one to go destroy it,” said one Facebook user. Another said that “Egypt is not Turkey in order for us to open such clubs. This is [a] Muslim Brotherhood rumor!”

Ihab Mousa, of Egypt's Tourism Support Coalition, said several steps were recommended for boosting tourism in Egypt but none included allowing strip clubs or even night clubs to open.

He said while there are night clubs operating, new ones are not being licensed.

“A strip club in Cairo? Nothing like this will ever open in Cairo one million percent. This is unacceptable. There are no permits for this and it does not exist.”

“We cannot go back in time, but at the same time we have values to preserve here in Egypt, values that date back to the days of the Pharaohs. Egypt never had prostitution houses or strip clubs, at all, except during the British occupation which allowed this.”