CAIRO: Famous satirist Bassem Youssef has found himself in the midst of controversy once again, however this time it is not because he stole the show, but because he allegedly stole someone else’s words.
Bassem Youssef published an article Tuesday morning called “Why wouldn’t Putin care” on Al-Shorouq. Shortly after the article’s publication, the article was tagged as a case of plagiarism.
The head of the Department of Translation and Research at Sasa Post said the same article had already been published on March 2 in Politico Magazine by writer Ben Judah, under the title “Why Russia no longer fears the West.” Sasa Post had translated it a week ago, and said all the ideas featured in Youssef’s article were taken from Judah’s article.
Many Twitter users have criticized Bassem for the article, using the trending hashtag “Bassem tele’ haramy” or “Bassem became a thief.”
“Hasn’t he known about plagiarism? For a western culture supporter, it is not just a shame, it is a crime by law,” @bassemelhady said on his Twitter account on Wednesday.
Omar Kamel tweeted: “So Dr Bassem Youssef took this Politico piece by @b_judah – translated it into Arabic, and took Credit @Shourouk_News.”
“How amusing (if true) that @Dr Bassem Youssef would copy past and translate the work of a Zionist,” Judah tweeted, according to Sasa Post; the tweet is no longer visible on Judah’s profile.
Youssef tweeted that he had cited the original article as a source at the end of his piece, but that it his citation was not published. Later, he tweeted that this was a mistake, “I take responsibility for not adding the source at the end, it has been added later, I am so sorry.”
After a couple of hours, Judah tweeted that he accepted Youssef’s apology.
Youssef published another apology Wednesday morning on Al-Shorouq, saying that on Tuesdays he is usually busy preparing for his El Bernameg TV show, “that’s why I sometimes miss some points in my weekly articles in Al-Shorouq.”
He added that, in the article, he tried to take content from a foreign political website with a different perspective.
“I forgot to include the last two lines where I mentioned the name of the writer and the title, and it has been corrected on the newspaper’s website. I apologized on my Twitter account after mentioning the source,” Youssef said.
UPDATE 19 March 2014 17:03: This article incorrectly identified Ben Judah as an Israeli citizen. It has been updated to correct this error.