ABIDJAN (Reuters) – A television presenter in Ivory Coast was suspended on Tuesday for 30 days after he invited a convicted rapist onto his prime-time show and asked him to simulate a rape using a mannequin.
Ivory Coast’s independent communications council announced the suspension of popular presenter Yves de Mbella, saying in a statement that the segment used obscene language, condoned rape and attacked the dignity of women.
The Nouvelle Chaine Ivoirienne private television station apologised for airing it and cancelled the final episode of this particular show which had been scheduled for Friday.
“I’m sincerely sorry to have shocked everyone while trying to raise awareness,” de Mbella wrote on Facebook. “I made an error.”
“I’m also sorry for everything that was said or done during that sequence of the programme yesterday that hurt,” he wrote. “I beg for forgiveness from all victims of rape.”
In the segment, broadcast on Monday, de Mbella asked his guest to demonstrate how he raped women using a female mannequin.
At one point, de Mbella helped the guest adjust the mannequin and asked him how he chose his victims, whether he preferred them “slim or fat” and whether the victims “enjoyed it”.
The segment was swiftly condemned on social media platforms in Ivory Coast and across West and Central Africa.
Telecoms operator MTN, the sponsor of the Miss Ivory Coast pageant that de Mbella is scheduled to host on Sept. 4, said in a statement it would take firm measures in response to the segment but did not say whether de Mbella would still host.
(Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Howard Goller)