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The New Arab

Egypt 'sexual harasser' becomes local sensation after viral video, while victim blamed

Sexual harassment is rampant in Egypt [YouTube]

Date of publication: 24 August, 2018

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An Egyptian man has become a local sensation after he appeared in a controversial video flirting with a woman that has sparked heated debate on what constitutes sexual harassment.

An Egyptian man has become a local sensation after he appeared in a controversial video flirting with a woman that has sparked heated debate on what constitutes sexual harassment.

Mahmoud Soliman has been given the media spotlight since the video of him making an advance on Menna Gubran in a Cairo suburb went viral this month.

In the video, Soliman can be seen approaching the woman and inviting her to coffee at On the Run - a nearby petrol station and convenience store.

Gubran took the short video of him approaching her and posted it online, igniting an online debate in which many people, including women, took Soliman's side.

She also posted video of another man harassing her in the street.

In an interview with Egypt's most popular radio station, Soliman declared himself the most famous person in the North African country.

This week, local media reported that the engineer in his 30s has signed a contract with a local instant coffee producer to star in an upcoming advertisement campaign.

However, it seems things have not turned out so well for Gubran, with many people blaming her for the incident or claiming she uploaded the footage for self-promotion.

Gubran has accused Soliman of circling in his car three times as she waited for a bus and made comments that made her feel uncomfortable.

Soliman has denied any wrongdoing in TV interviews and disputed her account of circling in his car.

Yet he has also said that he would not allow a man to approach his sister or any female relative in the same fashion.

The video provoked a torrent of angry responses, but while many praised Gubran for outing an alleged harasser, just as many accused her of overreacting or questioned her motives.

Sexual harassment, mostly ranging from catcalls to occasional pinching or grabbing, is rampant in Egypt.

Polls have found that a majority of both men and even women in the conservative country believe it is justified if women dress "provocatively" in public.

Last month, a court sentenced a Lebanese tourist to eight years in prison for insulting Egyptians in a profanity-laced video she posted online after she had been sexually harassed while on holiday in Cairo.

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