CAIRO: Ruqaya El-Sadat filed a complaint to the American embassy over a reference to her father, late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, made in the film “I Love You, Man.
The scene causing a stir sees one protagonist, played by Jason Segel, explaining to his friend, played by Paul Rudd, why his pet dog is named Anwar Sadat.
When asked whether the dog is thus named due to political admiration, Segel’s character, Sydney Fife, replies, “No, because they look exactly alike. The dog is a cross-breed between a beagle and a pug.
Sameer Sabri, the Sadat family lawyer, told Daily News Egypt that Ruqaya Sadat’s feelings were hurt by the film, a Dreamworks production. The late president’s daughter felt that for a man who symbolizes the nation, such comments are inexcusable and unjustifiable, adding that the film oversteps the boundaries of freedom of expression.
When asked about the jurisdiction of the US embassy on matters concerning a privately-produced film, Sabri commented that although there may be little connection between American cinema and the American government, Ruqaya Sadat wanted to express her objection to the film, which was released in Egypt in early June. She is still awaiting a response from the American embassy.
The embassy was unavailable for comment by press time.
Speaking to “90 Minutes on satellite channel Mehwar, Sabri highlighted that the film’s offensiveness is due to Segel’s character, Sydney, not only mocking the physical similarities between his pet and the late president, but also because he commented that he didn’t approve of Sadat’s politics.
However, politics hardly enters the scene, with both protagonists observing how “cute and “beautiful the dog is, as opposed to commenting on the late president’s policies.
Sabri explained that in addition to filing a complaint with the American embassy, he had petitioned the Cairo Court to halt the showing of the comedy on behalf of the Sadat family. A complaint was also sent to the film’s director, John Hamburg; the producer, Donlad De Line and the screenwriter, Larry Levin.
This is not the first time that Ruqaya Sadat has complained about the defamation of her father. In 2008 she took Hoda Abdel Nasser, daughter of late president Gamal Abdel Nasser, to court over claims that Anwar Sadat was responsible for the drugging the former and causing death.
The court ruled in Sadat’s favor.