Actress Rania Youssef has revealed she didn’t mean to offend anyone with her Cairo International Film Festival ensemble, after learning she is to face trial on public obscenity charges. In a Facebook post published this weekend, the Egyptian star stated her choice of gown was a misjudgment on her part, after walking the festival’s red carpet last week in a black leotard layered underneath a sheer, beaded black gown. “It was the first time that I wore it and I did not realize it would spark so much anger,” said the 44- year-old, citing the influence of celebrity stylists. “I reaffirm my commitment to the values upon which we were raised in Egyptian society.”
The revealing gown, which Youssef wore to the closing ceremony, prompted a group of lawyers to file an official complaint to the country’s chief prosecutor. The star is due to appear in court on January 12 over the charges, for which she could face up to five years in prison, a source told AFP. The actress’s gown “did not meet societal values, traditions and morals and therefore undermined the reputation of the festival and the reputation of Egyptian women in particular,” complainant Samir Sabri told the news agency.
Following the controversy, Egypt’s Artistic Syndicates Union has revealed it will instate a dress code for female stars walking the red carpet. “Criteria will be set for the clothes to be worn by actresses at festivals after this crisis,” said Omar Abdul Aziz, head of the union, according to Gulf News. “This is part of an approach aimed at addressing mistakes within the concerned professional union.”
Egypt’s Actors’ Guild added in a statement that it intended to discipline actors who wore “inappropriate” outfits to the Cairo International 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,” read the statement. “That should compel them to exercise a minimum level of commitment to society’s public values.”