Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Joe Maalouf vs. Mohamad Sibai, Who's the Bigger Menace?

Once a upon a time, there was a brave young man by the of Mohamad Sibai who wrote an article that brought him more exposure than he had ever dreamed of.

The author of the infamous homophobic article is now a household name in Lebanon's LGBT community. All possible replies to his article had been written. Nothing more can be said. His article caused quite a stir also in AUB and a full fledged  leak (à la Wiki Leaks), conveniently named the Outlook leaks, was created to cover the ins and outs of the matter.

Not to be outdone by an upcoming, aspiring,  young and talented journalist, the veteran gossiper, the one and only Joe Maalouf decided to show Mohamad a thing or two on how it should be done.

In the 8/5/2012 episode of his show Enta Horr he waged a war on Hamra movie theater based in Tripoli. His reasoning is that the place in question is a hub of deviant behaviors and all kind of atrocities. According to Joe this cinema is accused of the following:
  • Drug trafficking and usage 
  • Prostitution
  • Playing porn movies
  • Facilitating sexual abuse of teenagers 
  • Sex between gay men (لواط وشاذين، يا ربي دخلك لوين واصلين؟؟؟)
  • Illicit masturbation and abusive cumming
  • Occasionally serving as Al-Qaeda stronghold
Well the last accusation seems more plausible to me.

Anyway, what really bugged about this report was the way they mixed everything: drugs, homosexuality, prostitution, pedophilia, necrophilia, and all the philias of the world. I mean come on! Seriously?? 

The report is extremely unprofessional and MTV did not even bother to blur the faces of the people filmed without their consent. I don't care if they are seasoned serial killers, they have some basic rights that should be respected. The Raynbow blog highlighted this issue in particular.

So between Joe and Moe who's the bigger menace?

The curious case of Mohamad Sibai captured the minds of Lebanon's gay community, and it was worth it, but what Joe Maalouf brought to the table is far more serious, and it's not the first time.

Joe has a very sensational approach to journalism, he preys on people's emotions. The radio was not enough for him, he took his agenda to mainstream TV stations.

With all do respect to AUB and to its Outlook, the target audience of this magazine is fairly limited. Besides, people don't read as much as they watch TV or listen to the radio.

So between the hundred Outlook readers (a few thousands at most), and the potential million of viewers in Lebanon, the Arab World and beyond, Joe Maalouf is far more influential!

Joe Maalouf uses words, facial expressions, body language, music and visual techniques to rally people to his cause. Mohamad Sibai uses words and poor editing as his weapon of choice.

Both Joe Maalouf and Mohamad Sibai used religion to justify their point of views. But look carefully at Joe's facial expressions as he mentions the sound of prayers flooding the city while in the Hamra movie theater all kind of abominations take place. He was trying to highlight a certain contrast between the good (religion) and the bad (whoever goes to this place). Moreover, he is able to use his disgusted look to influence people's minds, get them to share his anger and frustration and voila, before you know it, angry mobs soldier on and support his cause (okay I am exaggerating, but you get the picture).

I don't know why, but Joe Maalouf is very sensitive to anything remotely related to sex. Does anyone remember the show on LBC called Lezim Taarif (You Should Know)? The show boldly discussed sexual topics in a seemingly scientific and professional manner. Naturally, Joe Maalouf campaigned against it, and was very vocal about his views. He wanted nothing less than the outright banning of the show. Irrespective if the show was good or mediocre, his demands to ban the show just because it broke some sexual taboos was unacceptable. 

I am not sure about this, but I also think he had something to do with the campaigns El Jarras magazine waged against gay clubs and gays in general (please correct me if I am wrong). 

When I examine some of what Joe did and is still doing, it is clear to me that his sensational style and his reactionary views will do nothing but harm. He is using people's fears to get more famous and gain notoriety as Joe of Arc, Lebanon's savior and protector. 

Joe Maalouf's reach and increasing viewership will harm the LGBT community much more than Mohamad Sibai's article, especially if he continues with reports that mix chaaban bi ramadan and paint gays as sex offenders and drug abusers. 

I call upon all of you to raise your voice against Joe Maalouf as you did with Mohamad Sibai. 


  1. http://raynbow.info/2012/08/03/mtv/

  2. MTV's Cine Plaza Clarification Statement

  3. A message from MTV Lebanon’s Jyad Murr to the LGBT community

    “I would also like to share a discussion I had with a friend on a clip that mtv and all other channels passed long time ago: Hi … , I know that the clip is not nice and it passed long ago on mtv and all tv channels in Lebanon and the arab world and is not passing anymore, this is the case for any new clip for a known artist and this artist is popular and known. But there is a strange campaign of accusations just against mtv, as if mtv is homophobe or racist or whatever, and i’m sure you know that mtv is not. There is a campaign each week to discredit a successful tv station. They start digging examples from the past, once for an old comedy sketch a la cage des folles, or once for a hidden cam report done 3 month ago in Tripoli, etc.. Didn’t we do a hidden cam, on drugs, on Prisons, on prostitution etc etc.. We will keep on doing special reports like any good tv station in the world does. MTV in no way encourages discrimination –including discrimination due to sexual orientation. We regret that this debate has come into question. MTV condemns the actions of the police force and certainly endorses the call for the immediate and safe release of the remaining men being held in custody. Going back to the video clip in question, Just remember that the guy in this clip did a very controversial song before about “women to stay home and not work”, just to create controversy, and women laughed in his face, and even one of them did a clip against him to say that he is from the stone ages, but women in general didn’t start attacking us for discrimination… anyway, I hope that some of you will start realising that this is a campaign against mtv and stops helping the instigators spreading it”

    He adds in a second comment:

    “and with another friend: Hi … don’t want to keep answering or defending, I gave my point of view, but let’s stop the paranoia please, each time a word is used in a report doesn’t mean it is accusing a group of people, unless they are Paranoiac as I said. If you see a homosexual or a Heterosexual masturbating in a movie theatre, you would say “shefna Chazz” etc :) so please stop this nonsense”