Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 11 December 2019

Egyptian comic Hesham Mansour suspended from Twitter over anti-Semitic posts

Mansour's tweets appeared to spur violence. They have since been removed

Following an offensive anti-Semitic Tweet, Hesham Mansour's Twitter has been blocked. Instagram / Hesham Mansour
Following an offensive anti-Semitic Tweet, Hesham Mansour's Twitter has been blocked. Instagram / Hesham Mansour

Egyptian comic and actor Hesham Mansour probably couldn’t be considered a household name, particularly outside the world of Egyptian comedy.

With over 800,000 followers on Twitter, however, plus a further 325,000 spread across his official and unofficial Facebook pages and 51,000 on Instagram, he certainly has an audience.

That audience has just taken quite a hit, however, following the suspension of his Twitter account over an anti-Semitic tweet on Monday.

Mansour’s account hosted the message: “Now let’s kill some Jews” for about 12 hours before Twitter suspended the account.

The post was retweeted well over 300 times before the ban came in, and also attracted plenty of angry replies and complaints to the social media platform.

The tweet isn’t the first time Mansour has made incendiary comments about Jews.

It’s currently impossible to search his post history thoroughly due to the suspension, but bloggers have already screenshot and shared some of his previous tweets.

In common with many right-wing conspiracy theorists, Mansour blends his anti-Semitism with the truly bizarre. One post claimed that “Jews controlled the space-time continuum” while another claims “they stole all the positive energy".

Other posts blame Jews for "all attacks" on US president Donald Trump, the removal of the Sphinx’s nose (here, Mansour appears to posit the disproved theory that the nose was destroyed by cannon balls fired by Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, and also erroneously insists that the catholic French emperor was also a Jew), and the existence of transgender people.

Hesham Mansour (right) with Adrien Brodie at the Cairo International Film Festival. Instagram.
Hesham Mansour (right) with Adrien Brodie at the Cairo International Film Festival. Instagram / Hesham Mansour

Strangely, Mansour’s other social media pages appear largely bereft of these kind of comments, offering instead a combination of adverts for Mansour’s Ted Talks and shows, and pictures of the comic with celebrities including Adrien Brody, Shadi Alfons and the Egyptian national football team. At least they were until today, when an image of a cartoon character in full Nazi regalia, who appears to be dabbing, was posted on his Instagram.

The incoherent rants on Mansour’s Twitter page also only seem to date back to April, though due to the suspension we can’t currently search further back to be sure, which seems to make the situation increasingly strange.

Mansour’s best known work is as a political satirist. He was chief writer and creative director on Bassem Youssef’s first 104 television shows. He has also hosted his own show El 3elm Wel 2emaw, a show inspired by doctor Mostafa Mahmoud, a well-known Egyptian philosopher.

Neither of these shows tended to feature frothing anti-Semitism, conspiracies about the space-time continuum or drum beating for Donald Trump. Mansour on screen comes across as an educated, intelligent and thoughtful satirist, so what changed? At least three months of bizarre posts seems a long time for an unnoticed account hack, a frequent excuse for such bizarre online outbursts.

The National has attempted to contact Hesham Mansour for comment.

Updated: July 4, 2019 03:48 AM

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