Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Egyptian TV host Riham Saeed says she will 'never work in media again' after 'fat shaming' backlash

'Never will I take on this job again because stress is more dangerous than cancer, obesity and everything else'

Riham Saeed made controversial comments about obesity on her talk show, 'Sabaya with Riham Saeed'. YouTube / AlHayah TV Network
Riham Saeed made controversial comments about obesity on her talk show, 'Sabaya with Riham Saeed'. YouTube / AlHayah TV Network

Television presenter Riham Saeed has been questioned by Egypt's Supreme Council for Media Regulation after making a series of comments that the regulator says "insult obese women".

During a segment on her talk show, Sabaya with Riham Saeed, the presenter said, "Obese people are dead, they are a burden and they are a burden on their families."

During her rant, she went on to say, "When an obese woman walks wearing a long jallabiya or abaya they are unable to walk. They are limping with knee pains and sweating because there is an incredible amount of toxins [in their body]." She then addressed overweight women in particular, saying, "You have lost all your femininity, you have lost your smile, you have lost everything."

Saeed then discussed weight-loss surgeries, hinting that many fans write into her show asking for help in affording medical help.

"Not all of us need surgeries. There is something else called diet, there is something else called sport," she said, before comparing being overweight to being a drug addict, saying, "Look how drug addicts go through a hard time the first week [of rehabilitation], they suffer for the first week. You will not be able to sleep among many other things.

"Do you know that if you overcome the first week, it is over," she concluded. "You have rid yourself of this abominable disease and you will keep on losing weight again and again. Do not waste your life, your beauty and health which are the most important to you.”

Her comments received widespread backlash, with Egypt's National Council for Women filing a complaint against her and critics taking to social media to start a campaign to suspend the show and fire Saeed.

She has since taken to Instagram to share a series of emotional videos in a bid to defend herself, while refusing to apologise.

"Never in my whole life will I work in media again, or be an actress again, and never will I take on this job again because stress is more dangerous than cancer, obesity and everything else," she says in one video. "I have been stressed for 16 years. It is time that I live my life and care for my children, and stay close to God, spend time with my husband and become like you, a normal human being."

Updated: August 25, 2019 12:39 PM

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