TV Station Suspends, Orders Presenters To Lose Weight Before Coming Back On Air
Egypt's state broadcaster has suspended eight of its female TV presenters for being 'overweight', and told them to go on a diet, sparking uproar among women's rights groups.
The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) has given the women one month to slim down before they can appear on air again with an "appropriate appearance", the Al-Yawm al-Sabi website reports.
The ERTU has a female director, Safaa Hegazy, a former state TV anchor herself. The announcement prompted an outcry among the affected presenters.
Some rights advocates have criticised the suspicion of the eight and many have raised eyebrows as to why only women were targeted.
It was not immediately clear if the curbs will be applied to male television anchors too.
Khadija Khattab, one of those affected and a host on Egypt's Channel 2, told the paper that she wants people to watch her most recent TV appearances and judge for themselves if she is really "fat", and whether she deserves to be prevented from working.
Khadija Khatab, one of the suspended TV hosts, condemned the move. “It is humiliating and even scandalous,” she told privately owned newspaper Al Watan. She said that she wants people to watch her most recent TV appearances and judge for themselves if she is really "fat", and whether she deserves to be prevented from working.
Another presenter said the situation had upset their families and should have been dealt with internally.
On social media, some users voiced support for the women, but others called them "bakabouzas", a term Egyptians use to describe overweight girls. One female Twitter user described ERTU head Safaa Hegazy as a "strong woman" for making the decision.
The presenters have been defended in parliament, though, with male MP and journalist Sayyid Hegazy asking: "Who is an ideal weight in Egypt?" He told the Sada al-Balad news site that a presenter "might be a little overweight, but she is eloquent".
“This decision sounds the alarm for all TV presenters that they have to pay attention to their appearances, including body weight,” TV chairman Majdi Lasheen said.
“This is the beginning of a plan to apply discipline and regulations designed to restore the beautiful image of all official TV stations,” he added in press remarks. “The decision to suspend the eight presenters is aimed at giving them a chance to change their looks in order to fit appearance on television.”
Please LOGIN or REGISTER To Gain Full Access To This Article