The producers of the popular show have now returned with the second season titled Al-Hayba Al-Awda (The Return).
However, the recently-released series has left viewers angered as episode 13 of the second season showed Jabal, the main character played by actor Taim Hassan, remorselessly beat his wife Sumaya, played by actress Nicole Saba, with a belt.
The violent scene led observers to believe that the show is normalizing domestic abuse. Social media users were quick to respond and countless people denounced the series' representation of violence and abuse against women.
Here is what people had to say online:
"Will this scene encourage other men to do the same?"
"In addition to portraying a specific [geographical] area as home to violence and terrorism, Jabal beats Sumaya as if violence against women is okay... despite nowadays' progress of women empowerment campaigns and efforts. Will this scene encourage other men to do the same? This scene was unnecessary, especially because the first season encouraged Alya to fight for what she believed in.”
Many pointed out the importance of a role model
“It is unacceptable to teach men to beat women whenever they want. The main character of the show should be a role model, not the other way around. This is not chivalry.”
People are furious
"I didn't like the episode, at all"
Arab women are having none of it
“Many shows have been empowering women even if indirectly. A show as successful as this one suddenly surfaces and obliterates any progress we have made over the years... justifying violence against women with 'venting out' as an excuse."
"He could've 'punished' her in a less aggressive way"
"Actors should portray peace, not violence"
Tweeps lost all respect for Jabal...
Even fans of Jabal drew a line at the sight of this scene
Last month, 22 Lebanese lawyers called for the judicial system to halt the airing of the series due to its misrepresentation of the culture in the village of Baalbek.
"It seems as if the series is portraying a culture of violence, armed gangs, and a general sense of mafioso behavior which contradicts the general system and laws. It might indirectly cause a defect in social security and lead people to lose faith and trust in the government," read the lawsuit.
However, despite the intense backlash and criticism, Al-Hayba Al-Awda remains a top choice for viewers in the region during Ramadan 2018.