Lebanese TV station refuses to apologize for Nasrallah sketch that sparked riots

Show which featured impersonation of Hezbollah leader causes anger; director rejects idea that some people can't be criticized.

By
November 11, 2013 18:05
3 minute read.
Nasrallah impersonator on Lebanese television

Nasrallah impersonator 370. (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)

The Lebanese TV station and the director of a comedy show, which made fun of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, refused to apologize despite riots against the show by supporters of the Islamist organization.

Lebanese director Charbel Khalil told the Lebanese Daily Star on Sunday that he would not apologize.

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“I will not apologize. We are continuing with our work, and this issue is behind us now,” he said. “[The show] has impersonated every religious figure, it does not mean I have reservations against anyone.”

The show was aired on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International and is called Basmat Watan, meaning both smiles of a nation and death of a nation. The show had an actor impersonate the Hezbollah leader in what was staged as an interview with a news reporter.

In the show, Nasrallah said his organization made a late intervention in Syria.

The video has almost 80,000 likes on Youtube after being posted on Friday.

The chairman of LBCI showed solidarity with the show’s director and told the Daily Star that the show would not be apologizing and that it could even do a skit on the Hezbollah leader again in the future.

“There is an issue, and I don’t know who put that idea in people’s mind, that there are some people who cannot be criticized,” he said.

As a result of the show, Hezbollah’s supporters called for the cancelation of the show on social networks, blocked roads, burned tires and blocked the international highway in Tripoli, according to the report.

Sensitivities of Muslim leaders in the Middle East are high, and criticism is usually not tolerated.

In Egypt, comedian Bassem Youssef’s show, The Lebanese TV station and the director of a comedy show, which made fun of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, refused to apologize despite riots by his supporters against the show.

Lebanese director Charbel Khalil told the Lebanese Daily Star on Sunday that he would not apologize.

“I will not apologize. We are continuing with our work, and this issue is behind us now,” he said.

“[The show] has impersonated every religious figure, it does not mean I have reservations against anyone,” he said.

The show was aired on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI), and is called “Basmat Watan,” meaning both smiles of a nation and death of a nation.

The show had an actor impersonating the Hezbollah leader in what was staged as an interview with a news reporter.

In the show, Nasrallah said his organization made a late intervention in Syria.

The video has almost 80,000 likes on YouTube after being posted on Friday.

The chairman of LBCI showed solidarity with the show’s director and told the Daily Star that the show would also not be apologizing and even that it could do a skit on the Hezbollah leader again in the future.

“There is an issue, and I don’t know who put that idea in people’s mind, that there are some people who cannot be criticized,” he said.

As a result of the show, Hezbollah’s supporters called for the cancellation of the show on social networks and blocked roads, burned tires, and blocked the international highway in Tripoli, according to the report.

Sensitivities of Muslim leaders in the Middle East are high, and criticism is usually not tolerated.

In Egypt, comedian Bassem Youssef’s show, The Program, had been taken off the air after joking about Egypt’s army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.


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