'The Arab Weinsteins': How Can Prominent Journalists Who Often Advocate for Women Rights Be Offenders?

Published August 25th, 2020 - 06:29 GMT
'The Arab Weinsteins': How Can Prominent Journalists Who Often Advocate for Women Rights Be Offenders
Social media accounts reported that  Allam's attorney choosing to step down from defending the journalist for what he referred to as "special considerations". (Al Bawaba)

Two prominent Arab journalists have been under fire for the last days; as each has been the center of assault allegations by women, even though both Hesham Allam and Omar Sheikh Ibrahim have long been known to advocate for women's rights through social media platforms.

Egyptian investigative journalist Hesham Allam has been accused of sexual assault and rape by at least 5 journalists; whose anecdotes detailed how he would approach women interested in journalism and ask them to open up to him and trust him with details connected to sexuality, claiming that he has a diploma in the psychology of sexual behavior. 

One journalist, a Syrian national, also accused Allam, the only Arab journalist involved in exposing the Panama documents and the teaching assistant in several journalism schools around Egypt, of inviting her to his hotel room following a workshop on investigative journalism, which was held in the Jordanian capital Amman, several years ago.

Translation: "He is telling her "be watchful of your kids." How come he isn't afraid that his kids will live with the shame of his crimes for the rest of their lives?"

On Facebook, Allam posted a statement and a video in which he denied all allegations and pledged to sue "anyone who tries to defame him without proof." 

Stirring even more controversies; Allam alleged that he had asked two female journalists who are good friends with him "to publicly claim that he'd sexually assaulted them" in order to "show the online community that accusations can be easily made against anyone but that does not necessarily mean they are true."

Yesterday, social media accounts reported that  Allam's attorney chose to step down from defending the journalist for what he referred to as "special considerations."

Yet, journalists who alleged that he had attacked them, and despite remaining anonymous, posted screenshots of conversations between them and Allam in which he either asked them to engage in sexual conversations or threatened them of speaking up following their rejections.

Messages between Allam and one Syrian journalist clearly showed him threatening her of speaking up, saying that "it might urge him to hurt her kids."

A few days later, another well-known Syrian TV presenter, who works in the Istanbul-based pro-opposition Syria TV, was attacked by social media users after his pregnant wife appeared in a live Facebook video, depicting how her face was clearly bruised following an argument with her husband.

Translation: "The journalist in Syria TV Omar Sheikh Ibrahim whose wife appeared with a bruised face as a result of his violent attitude is threatening one of our friends and telling him "I won't leave you!"

However, Omar Sheikh Ibrahim, who had been a vocal defendant of women's rights on social media, was reportedly threatening activists who have shared his wife's video, calling on them to "not interfere in his family life."


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