Prominent Egyptian dancer Fifi Abdo accused of ‘rigging’ her TV prank show

Fifi Abdo’s show is not the first prank show to be accused of fabrication. (Instagram)
Short Url
Updated 15 May 2020

Prominent Egyptian dancer Fifi Abdo accused of ‘rigging’ her TV prank show

  • Picture circulating on social media hints that guests are briefed before filming begins

CAIRO: A picture circulating on social media claims to show one of the cameramen working on prank TV show “Watch Out For Fifi” with Hassan El-Raddad — one of the show’s guests — before filming began, bolstering long-held suspicions that such shows are scripted in advance.

Egyptian star Fifi Abdo, the host of “Watch Out For Fifi” — which uses hidden cameras placed in Abdo’s home — claims the picture is a fake.

“The picture is fabricated and it is not from my show,” she said. “New technology can do more than this. Besides, isn’t it possible that the director of the show missed something while he was editing?”

The picture has reignited the long-running debate over whether prank shows are themselves faked. Many viewers believe that the celebrity guests know in advance what is going to happen.

Mohamed El-Morsy, a professor of mass communication at Cairo University, said that the majority of viewers believe the shows are, at least, exaggerated and that the pranks are agreed with the guests beforehand.

“This is confirmed by the amount of exaggeration as well as the real health risks in some dangerous situations, which could lead to real heart attacks if the scene is not previously agreed on,” El-Morsy said.

But El-Morsy noted that prank shows remain popular with TV audiences “especially if they are carried out in an ethical way.”

The shows depend on an important psychological aspect, he suggested: That the viewers puts themselves in the shoes of the show’s guests.

Prank shows consistently bring in high ratings in the Arab world and are extremely popular with advertisers, he said, which means they also make huge profits.

However, El-Morsy added that prank shows have gradually turned into “the goose that laid the golden egg,” with networks milking them in a way that, he said, has a negative effect. “They contain violence, cursing, and humiliation — whether of the guest or the host,” he told Arab News. “Thus, the viewer is actually hurt by all this exaggeration.”

Indeed, El-Morsy believes that viewers are starting to lose interest in the shows and will “morally reject them.”

“If they continue with all these platitudes, they will come to an end soon,” he said.

Abdo’s show is not the first prank show to be accused of fabrication. Egyptian entertainer Ramez Galal’s long-running series of Ramadan prank shows has also faced similar charges.

In 2014, actress Athar El-Hakim filed a report with the prosecutor general to block an episode of the show in which she appeared — “Ramez the Sea Shark” — from being broadcast on satellite channels.

However, a video reportedly leaked by Galal showed El-Hakim agreeing to appear in the episode and play along with the prank. The disagreement was over the fee she would receive for doing so.

Another show, “Crazy Taxi,” was slammed last year when pictures posted on social media revealed that the instigator of the prank hired professional stuntmen to play the role of the victims. But the show was still renewed for a second season, with a third rumored to be in the pipeline.

Nagwa Kamel, another professor of mass communication at Cairo University, said Galal’s shows, in particular, have gone too far.

“I refuse to watch prank shows because I am not sadistic. I don’t like to see people afraid and terrorized,” she said. “What’s so funny about that? It is unacceptable.”


Meet the Taylor Swift-loved Saudi VFX producer behind her hit videos 

Updated 18 September 2020

Meet the Taylor Swift-loved Saudi VFX producer behind her hit videos 

LOS ANGELES: Jumanah Shaheen is one of the first Saudi women to work in visual effects in Hollywood. Her most recent project was the music video to Taylor Swift’s new single “Cardigan.”

This marks Shaheen’s second time working with the artist, the first being the 2017 hit “Look What You Made Me Do.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Almost snapped my neck by the end of the shoot Photographer: @niron8 Stylist: @norahaleisa Editor: @caitlingivvs

A post shared by Jumanah (@jumanah_shaheen) on

“What I thought was amazing about this project is that Taylor Swift actually directed this video,” Shaheen told Arab News. “It was great to see her in that role and see how she was able to take her knowledge and put that into the video.”

As a woman succeeding in the film industry, Shaheen is proud of her work and is looking to provide opportunities to other women facing the challenges she faced.

At the same time, she is proud and excited to be Saudi in a time when the Saudi film industry is taking off.

“Now we’re getting to hear a lot more stories that come from Saudi, that come from my culture, from our traditions,” she said. “It’s amazing to see all these amazingly talented people – writers, directors, producers (and) artists – all having this ability and opportunity to share their stories.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

amber asaly x ELLE arabia for july/august Issue ‎“الجنه بلاناس ماتنداس" . make up: @kerrieurban

A post shared by Jumanah (@jumanah_shaheen) on

Shaheen said she is glad to be a role model for Saudis and women that share her dream of working in the film industry. She encourages them not to simply imitate people like her, but to recognize the positive qualities of others and use them to be the best version of yourself.

“What I’m hoping with my experience here and be able to kind of provide those services for these new upcoming directors and artists to find that outlet with them,” the post production producer said. “So if you have an independent film I’m hoping that I can be your right hand in being able to make your vision come to life.”