Egyptian actor suspended for distributing condom balloons to police
Egypt's actors syndicate has decided to revoke an Egyptian actor's permit after a video of him and his friend 'insulting the police' went viral on social media, syndicate chief Ashraf Zaki said on Tuesday.
The video showed 20 year-old Ahmed Malek distributing inflated condoms to police forces securing Tahrir Square on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January revolution.
Malek was accompanied by his friend Shady Abu Zaid, a reporter at satire show Abla Fahita.
The two pranksters pretended to greet the police conscripts, who had no idea what the balloons were made of, hugging and kissing them to express gratitude for protecting the people.
Following his suspension, Malek posted an apology on his Facebook page.
"I apologise to everyone who found the video offensive, and especially to the police. The video indeed has some encroachments that I did not expect to be shared outside my circle of friends," he said.
"I'm only 20 and at such an age, reckless ideas always precede rational thinking. I regret such moments, and I tried to delete the video but it went viral before I could save the situation."
Malek added he regretted that his video, which was created due to his frustration five years after the revolution, would be used to "defame the image of revolutionaries and the revolution".
The video sparked outrage among police supporters, who considered it offensive and disrespectful.
Others found the video hilarious and expressed concerns that the two would join dozens of other young people detained over anti-regime Facebook posts.
Sympathisers launched a hashtag in solidarity with Malek and Abu Zaid.
Translation: What Shady and Malek did was impolite? Have you forgotten about the virginity tests?
The tweet referred to virginity tests conducted by army and police officers on girls arrested in Tahrir Square under the rule of the Supreme Council for Armed Forces.
In response to public outrage and condemnations, pictures of Malek and Abu Zaid injured due to birdshots by the police during the revolution went viral online, asking if those who injured them five years ago were held accountable for their doings, and why the two young people should be punished for a simple joke.
Translation: When the police apologises for this, you can ask them to apologise for the video.
"Let us laugh a lot today, because tomorrow the joke will be over and things will take a dark turn. When this happens, people will turn a blind eye," Abu Zaid said in a Facebook post.
Several complaints have been filed to the prosecution against the two young men, including a complaint by lawyer Samir Sabry, mostly known for his multiple controversial lawsuits in the name of morality.