Bassem Youssef in boiling hot water over plagiarism accusations

Published March 20th, 2014 - 11:04 GMT

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef has once more found himself at the center of controversy this week following accusations that he plagiarized an op-ed published in privately owned Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk. Youssef immediately apologized for the “inadvertent mistake,” saying that the final two lines of the article—in which he correctly identifies the source of his opinion—had been cut.

Bassem Youssef is one of Al-Shorouk’s most prominent op-ed contributors and his weekly op-ed is published every Tuesday.

This week, Youssef’s op-ed, entitled “Why doesn’t Putin care?” sought to give his take on the Ukraine crisis. It was subsequently discovered that Youssef had based many of his opinions and views on articles by Politico Magazine writer Ben Judah.

Youssef acknowledged his mistake, writing an apology both on Twitter and in Al-Sharouk.

Bassem Youssef’s statement to the newspaper that carried his piece said that the lack of proper credit was a mistake due to the “pressure of work,” and the op-ed was updated to include an addition at the bottom of the article, highlighted in red, saying that “to try to understand a new angle to the conflict in Crimea I utilized a number of articles by Politico Magazine writer Ben Judah and the New York Times’s Timothy Snyder, in addition to several news agencies.

Bassem Youssef is more accustomed to exposing the mediocrity and double-dealing of prominent Egyptian media figures and has come in for strong criticism for the Al-Shorouk article controversy. Egyptians took to Twitter to alternately denounce and defend the controversial Egyptian funnyman, including offering apologies to Ben Judah on Youssef’s behalf. He responded: “Thank you, Egyptians. I made a statement to BBC Arabic. And now will comment no further on the Bassem Youssef crisis.” BBC Arabic had yet to air Judah’s comments at the time this article went to publication.

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