For almost a decade now, Egyptian actor Ramez Galal's prank shows have been airing to a broad audience during the holy month of Ramadan, despite heavy criticism and controversy.
From bullying, verbal abuse, and body shaming, to injuries and sexual harassment claims, Galal's hidden camera and prank shows have been dubbed "offensive," "stupid," and "staged" by an overwhelming number.
At a time when bullying is known for its serious repercussions like psychological issues that could lead to suicide, the negative impact of such shows is particularly apparent.
Not to mention how little many people believe his shows - especially the current one, Ramez Fil Shallal (Ramez in the Waterfall) - are actually genuine.
The guests' safety isn't the main issue here. A show financially capable of offering trips to Indonesia and different countries each season might as well be capable of ensuring celebrities are kept safe throughout the pranks. Or else lawsuits will come knocking at Galal's door.
One of the main concerns, besides the extremism of the tricks, is the message this sham and the likes of it send to the public, especially impressionable kids.
Mocking someone's appearance, fat shaming them, and disrespectfully talking to guests are some of the things constantly present throughout Galal's shows. These are forms of indirect messages that could be absorbed by young minds who might think it's acceptable to treat others like this.
A comprehensive list of what goes wrong on such shows, especially Galal's:
- They put people in harm's way, making them fear for their lives (even if it's staged.)
- They give the impression that scaring someone till they faint or sustain injury is hilarious.
- They disrespect guests with offensive nicknames, highlight their flaws, and fat shame them at any opportunity they get.
Such behavior is already, unfortunately, present at schools. With kids and teens watching celebrities and "idols" dissing others, bullying will keep on reigning.
Ramez Fil Shallal and its lookalikes convey to the audience that when you piss someone off, they'll get over it soon and laugh about it ... especially when you throw them in a river off a bridge and attack them with a fake, human-sized gorilla.
Have you watched the trailer? That alone shows an evil face of a person looking for revenge. "Their worst day will be my happiest," Galal says in the trailer.
Speaking of gorillas, that wasn't the smartest idea, really, since gorillas are present in Africa, not Asia - the show is filmed in Indonesia.
"BTW, there aren't any gorillas in Asia," one twitter user noted.
They could've at least checked some facts about gorillas before filming, or about the region they're in. But then again, which guest will brilliantly remain calm once they're faced with a gorilla?
"Excuse me, but is this a prank? There shouldn't be any gorillas here. We're in Indonesia. That's impossible," no guest said, ever.
Thousands of Arabs still can't seem to understand the negative effects of 30 episodes of harsh pranks, cruel comments, and body shaming. But many do understand, and do attack the show mercilessly, demanding its suspension.
Despite all the criticism, the show still goes strong, managing to get international celebrities like Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan and American media personality and millionaire Paris Hilton, and even more from around the region.