What's better than promoting domestic violence and gender-based abuse? Having a celebrity, who's a male of course, say it on national TV. A popular Moroccan singer said - proudly and while citing personal experiences - husbands who "don't beat their wives aren't real men."
Adil El Miloudi, who's better off being called a slave-master than a singer, made the unacceptable statement during a televised appearance on Chada TV's Kotbi Tonight show. Though the episode dates back to June 29, a video of it lately resurfaced online, drawing major criticism across Morocco.
During the segment dedicated to El Miloudi, he confirmed he still "beats his wife" and, just like you'd expect a male peacock to show off, proudly announced he was once arrested in Spain over this matter.
"She [his wife] told the cops that I did not do anything to her; they released me 24 hours later," he explained.
The man didn't stop at that as he went on to state that domestic violence is "normal" in Morocco, adding that men in the country can do whatever they want with their wives including "beating them or even killing them."
El Miloudi's statement didn't go down well with people in Morocco. The intense backlash led many to call on authorities to take action against the man for promoting gender-based violence. Amid the controversy, Imad Kotbi, the presenter who interviewed the singer on the show, spoke out on the matter.
Kotbi told Huffpost Maghreb that Chada TV was not yet supervised by Morocco's High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA) at the time El Miloudi's episode was broadcast. His statement basically implies the channel will not be sanctioned for airing the singer's comments.
El Miloudi has a track record of sexist statements
The singer is known for his misogynistic remarks. In July 2015, he released a song attacking Moroccan actress Loubna Abidar for appearing in a sex scene in a film titled Much Loved.
His song, Kifach Houma Mahadrouch (Why didn't they talk?), features direct threats targeting Abidar and the director of the film Nabil Ayouch. The song's lyrics read: "Loubna Abidar, today, you are in danger. Everyone knows what you did, it will bring you only misfortune." They also include the chorus: "Nabil Ayouch will be arrested, and we will see what 'Much Loved' means then."
Not only does El Miloudi threaten and attack women in public, but he also defends accused rapists. In March 2018, he went live on Facebook to defend Moroccan recording artist Saad Lamjarred. At the time, Lamjarred was facing several rape charges in France.
Not the first time a Moroccan singer tries to normalize domestic violence
In 2017, Moroccan singer Eman bint El Hawat released a song that says it's ok for men to physically abuse women. At the time, the track sparked international backlash and has since been taken off YouTube.
In a statement to StepFeed, Lina, a Moroccan activist who has worked with many domestic abuse victims in the country, said songs like El Hawat's normalize abuse.
"What message does this so called work of art send to thousands of Moroccan women who face domestic abuse? What message does it send to men who abuse them? He beat you because he loves you, he beat you because he's jealous, take it as a good thing, a sign of love. This kind of rhetoric is disgraceful, regressive and it's the last thing we need as we continue to fight against domestic violence," she said.
The promotion of domestic violence hasn't been limited to Moroccan singers and songs but has also reached local television channels. In 2016, a Moroccan state television channel broadcast a tutorial to teach domestic violence victims how to cover up their bruises.
Domestic abuse continues to be a major issue in Morocco
According to a national survey conducted by the Moroccan High Commission for Planning, 62.8 percent of Moroccan women aged 18-65 have experienced physical, psychological, sexual, or economic violence in recent years. "Of the sample interviewed, 55 percent reported 'conjugal' violence and 13.5 percent reported "'familial' violence."
What's even more alarming is that only 3 percent of those who experienced abuse reported it to authorities. And those who did report cases to police said "officers refused to record their statements, failed to investigate, and refused to arrest domestic abuse suspects even after prosecutors ordered them to," Human Rights Watch reported.
Morocco passed a law banning violence against women in 2018. Activists hope that under the new legislation, victims of domestic abuse will be provided with the protection they so direly need.