Egyptian actress Rania Youssef could go to jail for up to five years because she wore a revealing dress at the 40th Cairo International Film Festival.
Youssef was accused of “inciting debauchery” when she wore a see-through, black, lacy gown that showed off her leg at the film festival, which ran from Nov. 20-29. The controversial look also featured a black bodysuit and a sheer overlay with beads.
Youssef has since apologized for wearing the said dress. She explained that she wouldn’t have worn the racy gown if she knew that it would cause such anger and controversy. She noted that it was the first time she wore it. “I reaffirm my commitment to the values upon which we were raised in Egyptian society,” Youssef added on Instagram.
Lawyers Samir Sabri and Amro Abdelsalam filed the complaint against the 44-year-old actress. Sabri said that Youssef undermined the Cairo Film Festival’s reputation as well as that of the Egyptian women. He also claimed that Youssef’s appearance did not meet morals, traditions and societal values. The actress will stand trial on Jan. 12, according to the Associated Press.
Aside from Sabri and Abdelsalam, Egypt’s Actors Guild also released a statement that it intends to discipline actors as well as investigate those who wore outfits deemed “inappropriate” during the film festival.
“Although we absolutely believe in the personal freedom of artists, we appeal to everyone to shoulder their responsibilities toward the fans who appreciate their art and view them as role models,” Egypt’s Actors Guild said in a statement to USA Today. “That should compel them to exercise a minimum level of commitment to society’s public values.”
Youssef isn’t the first celebrity who was called out by the Egyptian court for wearing a revealing outfit. In January, singer Laila Amer was detained after her music video, which also featured suggestive gestures, caused a bit of controversy. In 2017, another singer named Shaimaa Ahmed was jailed for a year. She was also accused of “inciting debauchery” in her music video that showed her eating a banana suggestively while wearing underwear.
While revealing attires and racy behaviors are quite common in mainstream media nowadays, Egypt is still a conservative country. Islamic fundamentalism is still prevalent in the country, that’s why wearing racy outfits still spark outrage even in this modern day and age.
Youssef was last seen on the TV show “Wakkelna Walla.” She also appeared on “Afrah AlQoba,” “Men Dahr Ragel,” “Regatta” and “El Saba Wassaya.”