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Lebanon: Egyptian star admonished online for Beirut blast site photoshoot

Singer and actor Mohamed Ramadan has come under fire for using the devastated Lebanon port as a backdrop
Many have questioned Egyptian singer and actor Mohamed Ramadan's recently appointed role as Arab Youth Ambassador (Screengrab/Twitter)

Egyptian singer and actor Mohamed Ramadan has found himself embroiled in controversy this week after a photo of him posing on the site of the Beirut port explosion circulated online. 

The photo - bearing the logo of  Arab Youth Ambassador, an award Ramadan received last week from the German Cultural Centre in Lebanon - showed him standing in front of the port silos that were gutted by the blast on 4 August 2020.

The blast, caused by tonnes of ammonium nitrate unsafely stored at the port, devastated entire neighbourhoods of the Lebanese capital, killing more than 200 people.

Social media users conveyed their dismay at the choice of location of the photograph. 

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Translation: Mohamed Ramadan, the ambassador of filth and vulgarity. A provocative photo to every human being. 

Many have questioned the Egyptian star's role as a youth ambassador, citing the photo as a prime example of poor behaviour from a prominent figure. 

“I consider Mohamed Ramadan a bad role model, in this photo he proves that besides his negative behaviour and actions, he has no conscience," one social media user tweeted.  "There were victims and families impacted, and this was a huge crisis for the Lebanese people, yet he stands there and takes a photo.”

Some also used the hashtag #RespectTheVictims, calling on celebrities, artists and politicians to be held accountable and not use the site for photoshoots. 

Translation: Mohamed Ramadan needs to be treated. Seriously, what is he doing?

The 32-year-old mahraganat singer is not the first to use the blast site as a backdrop. A number of singers and influencers have also used the site to host photoshoots and videos. 

Critics have also condemned designers for using the devastating explosion to capitalise on profits.

Last year, a Lebanese accessories brand came under fire after  selling a "Silo" bag made from glass broken in the explosion, forcing it to remove the collection from its website.

Lebanese designer removes bag made from explosion debris after backlash
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A champagne, diamond-encrusted ring, supposedly designed to represent the resilience of Beirut, was slammed as distasteful, with some calling for the designer to be boycotted. 

Ramadan is no stranger to controversy. Last year, the singer was suspended by Egypt’s Union of Artistic Syndicates after posing in a photograph with two Israeli celebrities in Dubai. 

The images sparked a social media campaign against the Egyptian star, with trending hashtags accusing him of being a "Zionist" and betraying the Palestinian cause by encouraging normalisation with Israel.

A lawyer filed a suit accusing Ramadan of "insulting the Egyptian people" with such images, which many online have called a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

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