Egyptian YouTubers Ahmad Hassan and his wife Zeinab were arrested on Wednesday at the request of the Public Prosecution, over allegations of “terrorising” their one-year-old daughter Eileen as a prank in a video posted on their YouTube channel, which has almost six million subscribers.
The pair have also been accused of exploiting their child for financial gain and profiting off her trauma. They could face jail time following one such prank video showing their daughter’s reaction to seeing her mother Zeinab in “blackface”, where the child is seen crying while her parents laugh.
The video prompted an angry response from social media users with some calling for authorities to save the child from her parents.
Previous incidents included a video where Zeinab pretends to be unresponsive while her daughter cries for attention.
Egypt Independent reported that the public backlash led to a complaint filed with the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), which then submitted a report to the Public Prosecution to open an investigation.
The General Director of the Child Helpline with NCCM, Sabri Osman, said during a phone-in with a morning television show that these videos display the reckless behaviour of the parents.
He explained that their end goal is to achieve fame and collect money, which they have been granted by the popularity of their YouTube channel at the expense of their daughter’s welfare.
According to Osman this serious incident constitutes child abuse which could involve punishments of life imprisonment and a fine of $31,722.
The NCCM’s Secretary-General Sahar Al-Sonbaty said that the publishing of the videos constitutes child abuse, violating article 80 of the Egyptian Constitution which deals with the rights of the child and mentions: “The state shall care for children and protect them from all forms of violence, abuse, mistreatment and commercial and sexual exploitation.”
She added that it also violates article 96 of the Egyptian Child Law, which includes any cases that involve threatening the safe upbringing that all children are entitled to under the law.