Correction: An earlier version of this article reported that Shady AbuZaid was arrested after security sources told several media outlets, including Youm7, that he had been apprehended, but he was later confirmed not detained.
CAIRO: Comedian Shady AbuZaid was widely condemned after appearing in video in which he gave policemen stationed in Tahrir Square inflated condoms, pretending they were balloons.
AbuZaid is the correspondent for the Live from the Duplex show of Egypt’s famous puppet Abla Fahita, who was previously investigated over a Vodafone advertisement. He filmed himself inflating the condoms, writing on them “Police Day Jan. 25,” then taking to Tahrir Square on the fifth anniversary of Egypt’s uprising Monday.
“As long as there are no protests or dissident voices… we will continue to make fun of you… even as we die we will die making fun of you… I hope you had fun with us,” AbuZaid wrote on Facebook Monday evening after posting the video.
The video, scored with patriotic songs, has more than 1 million views, was shared over 15,000 times with 23,000 likes and 11,000 comments thus far.
Many of the comments, however, criticized the video for making fun of policemen and police conscripts from underprivileged backgrounds. At least three lawyers filed complaints to the prosecution against AbuZaid, deeming the video a “criminal act,” according to Youm7.
The program of award-winning comedian Bassem Youssef was suspended after airing a few episodes following the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The production company of the show recently won the lawsuit over which the program was halted.
Young actor Ahmed Malek also appeared in the video greeting unsuspecting policemen who accepted the “balloons” and took pictures with him and Abou Zaid.
Head of the Actors’ Union Ashraf Zaky told al-Masry al-Youm Tuesday that Malek has been suspended from the union over his participation in the video.
On Tuesday, Malek posted an apology to the police on Facebook.
“I am 20 years old, and at that age sometimes impetuous ideas outrun rational thinking. Unfortunately, mistakes now are recorded and filmed, giving them a longer age and a bigger size than it really is,” Malek wrote.
People who sympathize with AbuZaid posted pictures of him injured by birdshot during the events of the January 25 Revolution, asking why no one was held accountable for his injury.
The last post on AbuZaid’s Facebook account read “let’s laugh a lot today because tomorrow the joke will be over and will turn ugly… and I think when it turns ugly everyone will turn a blind eye.”