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French-Algerian actors and French-Moroccan influencer post offensive video against Moroccan children and women

Two French-Algerian actors and a French-Moroccan snapchatter posted a video in which they «humorously» insult Moroccan children and women. The clip deemed offensive led authorities in Marrakech to open an investigation.

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French-Algerian actors Brahim Bouhlel and Hedi Bouchenafa as well as French-Moroccan snapchatter Zbarbooking have stirred controversy after sharing, Saturday, a video to social media. In the clip, Brahim Bouhlel makes degrading remarks on Moroccans and specifically women. 

In said videos, he refers to «the prostitutes in Morocco that he pays 100 dirhams» and the «children he left behind» by filming Hedi Bouchenafa and Zbarbooking. He then addresses the three children who seem to be street vendors, calling them «sons of a bitch» (sic) in the context of the same imagined scenario.

The video, deemed degrading and insulting towards Morocco and Moroccans, received a wave of criticism on social media. At first, the three celebrities played it off but without apologizing.

Adidas halts collaboration

Later, actor Hedi Bouchenafa, realizing the growing number of disgruntled Moroccans, eventually apologized. «We made a joke by giving money to the little kids. I'm really sorry if I disrespected you», he said. «I was treated like a king in Morocco. I did the best I could. I'm not one of those people who do weird stuff. I apologize to those I may have offended», he added.

Zbarbooking and Brahim Bouhlel also apologized. «Following the controversy over the story, I want to apologize to all the people I may have hurt because it was not my intention», said the first. «I know that the words and actions that appear in this video may be at odds with who I am, being Moroccan myself. I love my people and the traditions of my country», he said.

For his part, Bouhlel accused some supposed parties who «want to seize a humorous video that was broadcast on social media to distract from it and suggest that [he] deliberately insulted, outraged or defamed the Moroccan people». «It is not the case : not for a single moment did I want to damage or soil the image of the Kingdom, its inhabitants or its children», he insisted, calling it humor.

The three personalities have already started paying for their infamous videos. Sportswear giant Adida, which collaborates with actor Brahim Bouhlel, has indeed announced that it will reconsider this collaboration. 

«Adidas firmly opposes all forms of intolerance, discrimination and sexism», explains the brand. «We are committed to making sport a space where everyone is fully accepted», it added, noting that «no contract binds the brand to Brahim Bouhlel».

The King's Prosecutor in Marrakech has given his instructions to open a judicial investigation against the three celebrities, according to Mourad Elajouti, president of the Club of lawyers in Morocco.

Hedi Bouchenafa deleted his account on Instagram. Brahim Bouhlel meanwhile posted a video Sunday evening to again apologize to the Moroccan people.

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