Egyptian mental health officials have called on authorities to cancel a popular show after host Ramez Galal came under fire for “violence, torture and bullying” in the latest edition of the Ramadan prank show.
The Egyptian prankster hosts a new season of the show every year with a new theme during the Muslim holy month.
This year’s edition, called “Ramez Magnoun Rasmy” or “Ramez is officially crazy”, straps celebrity guests into a “confession chair”.
In the first episode, which aired on Friday, Egyptian actress Ghada Adel is strapped into the chair and told it would determine whether or not she is telling the truth. The actress appears to believe she is on a tell-all reality TV show.
Adel is first asked about her opinions of various local celebrities and is then confronted by Galal, who threatens her, turns the “confession chair” into a rollercoaster, submerges her into a water tank in which he throws crabs, and finally throws snakes at her.
The prankster also appears to electricute the actress by pressing a remote control in his hand.
Amid public outcry at the episode, doctors from the Abbasiyah mental health hospital in Egypt called on the country’s attorney general to remove the show from the airwaves.
Scenes of “violence, torture and bullying” could be a mental health trigger for vulnerable Egyptians already suffering due to the coronavirus crisis, the doctors said.
Some viewers have countered that Adel and other celebrities involved in Galal’s shows are in on the prank and simply acting.
MBC, the network that airs Galal’s infamous prank show, released a statement on Monday assuring viewers that all involved had given their “approval”.
It is not the first time Galal has faced a backlash over the prank show. Viewers have previously complained over the insults the prankster sometimes lobs against guests, as well as the apparently dangerous nature of some of his pranks.
Previous years have seen Galal convince American socialite Paris Hilton that she was in mortal danger during a turbulent flight over Dubai and attack Egyptian actress and dancer Fifi Abdou while dressed as a gorilla.
Prank shows like Galal’s were even subject to a fatwa, or religious edict, from one Egyptian cleric in 2017.
Sheikh Sayyed Salman, a member of the Al-Azhar University Alumni Union, claimed that such shows designed to scare guests were prohibited under Islamic law.
“These programmes harm their guests, who could even lose their lives if they suffer from certain medical conditions,” Salman said.