On the 8th of December, the movie “About Her” was being premiered as a part of the official competition of the 42nd Cairo International Film Festival edition. The press was banned from covering the event as well as the second screening of the movie, why we later discover is because of the rape allegations raised against the movie’s director Islam Azazy.
Those rape and sexual harassment allegations were circulated on social media after the victims have shared their stories anonymously on the feminist blog “Daftar Hekayat” (which counted five testimonies until the time of publishing the article). One of them said that he tried to rape her while she was temporarily totally disabled due to a back surgery. The other 21 years old victim then, said that he raped her after forcing her to drink alcohol.
After those allegations have widely been shared on social media networks, the hashtags “the rapist director” and “About him” have been heavily used by Twitter users, calling for an action to be taken against him. The festival’s administration announced on their official Facebook page that they respect women in addition to being against all forms of violence against them with continuing to screen the movie as to be fair for the rest of the movie’s crew, with a promise to disqualify the movie from the competition if the allegations were found to be true.
Social media users kept outraging on the matter and shared many posts and tweets against the director. Surprisingly, one of those posts was from a close female friend to the director, bravely confessing that she knows for sure that those allegations are true and that she’s ready to support the victims if they decided to raise a case. She affirmed on loving him and being grateful for many things he has done to her before though.
One day later, the festival announced the cancellation of the movie’s press conference that was supposed to be held as a part of the festival’s events, a thing that many people have referred to as “the power of social media”.
Although the accused director has posted on his Facebook a clarification refusing those allegations, describing them as “filled with inaccuracies and slander”, demands kept raising for arresting him. Also celebrities like Mariam Elkhosht and others refused to attend the movie’s premier just for that particular reason.
The movie “About her” is basically a feminist movie that discusses women’s issues. Ironically, the movie is supposed to be highlighting women’s struggle for freedom and safety, a thing that makes us consider not judging the book by its name.