Actor Ahmed Bedeir told Egyptian television programme Al Ashera Mesaan (Ten in the Evening) in a phone call on Tuesday night that he would withdraw from filming Hepta.
Bedeir's decision comes after a actor Ahmed Malek, also cast in Hepta, reportedly took part along with with satire show Abla Fahita reporter Shady AbuZaidof in a video prank showing them distributing inflated condoms to police personnel during a pro-police gathering in Tahrir Square on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January revolution.
"I am not ready to act alongside a person who defames the police forces who sacrifice their lives for the country. The video is despicable, disrespectful, and shallow," he said.
Based on Hepta, a bestselling novel by Mohamed Sadek, the film will feature many well-known Egyptian actors, Maged El-Kedwany, Ahmed Malek, Ahmed Dawood, Dina El-Sherbiny, Yasmine Raeis, Jamila Awad, Amr Youssef, Hany Adel, Ahmed Bedeir, Salwa Mohamed Aly, Kinda Alloush, as well as singer-actress Anoushka.
Bedeir, a well-known comedian, also told TV host Wael El-Ebrashi that he submitted a request to the head of Egypt Actors' Syndicate Ashraf Zaki asking him to delete all film scenes that included him alongside Malek in Hepta, adding that he would bear all the costs resulting from the action.
The video, which was released two days ago, sparked controversy online, with some social media users calling for the arrest of the two young men and others defending them.
The video was accused of 'insulting to the police' after Malek and AbuZaid distributed 'condoms that were blown up as balloons' to police forces in Tahrir Square.
Following the video release -- and prior to Bedeir's announcement -- Ashraf Zaki said that Malek was going to be referred to internal investigation, adding that although Malek was not a syndicate member, he still acquired a permit from the syndicate to work.
Following his suspension, Malek posted an apology on his Facebook page.
"I apologise to everyone who saw the video as offensive, and especially to the police. The video indeed has some encroachments that I didn't expect to be shared outside my circle of friends. I'm only 20, and at such an age, reckless ideas always precede rational thinking…I regret such moments, and I tried to delete the video but it went viral before I could save the situation," Malek wrote.
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