Cairo Film Festival Artistic Director Resigns Over Inflammatory Social Media and Blog Posts

Egyptian film critic Ahmed Shawky served as the acting director to last year’s festival

Last Updated: June 11, 2020 @ 7:20 AM

Egyptian film critic Ahmed Shawky has resigned from his role as artistic director of the Cairo International Film Festival after inflammatory social media and blog posts of his resurfaced that led to calls for his removal.

The news of Shawky’s resignation was announced by the festival’s advisory board on Wednesday, according to the AP. He was appointed to the position this year after serving as acting artistic director for 2019’s festival.

Shawky drew criticism when in 2014 he referred in a blog post to a 2012 soccer riot in Egypt that left 70 people dead. Shawky suggested that those killed, many of whom were hardcore fans of the team, were “culled” in the accident and were inferior or were selectively killed, according to AP.

AP also cited another post in which in 2013 following the death of the daughter of a Muslim Brotherhood leader, Shawky said that “no one should feel sorry for her,” adding, “If I know someone like her…I would kill her with my own hands.”

Shawky earlier this week apologized for his past statements, and according to AP, he resigned as to not “imperil” the image of the Cairo International Film Festival but said that he was being targeted by a “smear campaign accusing me of violence, sexism and homophobia!”

“I confess in some personal writings dating back to 2014, I used hurtful words related to the fans of Ahly and the victims of Port Said. I apologize for them. I am aware they caused pain to the families of the departed,” Shawky said in a statement via Ahram Online.

Shawky has since shut down and protected his social media accounts.

The 2020 Cairo International Film Festival is scheduled to take place November 19-28, and the festival said it will continue with preparations.

“The Cairo International Film Festival is committed to proceeding with preparations for the 42nd edition and will announce further plans within the coming weeks while continuing to uphold our principles of championing diversity, bridging cultures, encouraging dialogue, celebrating new voices, and providing a platform for film talent from around the world and contributing to the development of the local and regional film industry,” the festival said in a release via Ahram Online.

Representatives for the festival did not immediately respond to TheWrap for comment.