Newsweek ‘reviewing relationship’ with Pakistan franchise after editor makes light of child abuse
LAHORE: Newsweek, an American weekly magazine and the parent company of Newsweek Pakistan, is reviewing its relationship with the Pakistan franchise after Fasih Ahmed, editor of Newsweek Pakistan made light of child sexual abuse on his Twitter handle.
Fasih Ahmed took to Twitter late Tuesday night and stated, “The sexual abuse of children will always exist. You can never eliminate it. Sometimes it leads to great art. So there’s also that”.
The sexual abuse of children will always exist. You can never eliminate it. Sometimes it leads to great art. So there’s also that.
— Fasih Ahmed (@therealfasih) January 23, 2018
After being repeatedly tagged by disgruntled Twitter users, Newsweek disassociated itself with the views presented by Fasih Ahmed by tweeting,”Recent tweets by Newsweek Pakistan editor @therealfasih do not represent the views of @Newsweek. We are reviewing our relationship with @NewsweekPak, which operates under a license agreement.”
Fashi Ahmad in his misogynistic and homophobic tirade did not spare the Egyptian writer and LLF speaker Mona Eltahaway as he showed utter contempt towards her.
Similarly, Lahore Literary Festival, of which Fasih Ahmed was a member of the Board of Governors, has also put out a message, disassociating themselves from the views presented regarding child abuse and has announced that Fasih Ahmed has resigned from his position.
On the Facebook page of Lahore Literary Festival, a message stated, “The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) has received several complaints pertaining to the tweets on January 23, 2018, from the personal twitter handle of Mr Fasih Ahmed, one of the original members of the Board of Governors. This account and its tweets do not in any way represent or reflect the ethos or values of the LLF. In view of the same, Mr Ahmed has recused himself from the LLF and the Board has unanimously accepted his resignation.”
Fasih Ahmed’s tirade began on Tuesday evening when he put forth tweets that made light of the sexual assault of minors.
Commenting on the recent capture of a key suspect in Zainab’s rape and murder case, Fasih Ahmed stated, “On the bright side, at least he’s [the suspect] straight”.
On the bright side, at least he’s straight https://t.co/pSGz6wPKEg
— Fasih Ahmed (@therealfasih) January 23, 2018
Fasih Ahmed further tweeted, “Rape by, say, Obama is rape. Rape by, say, Tom Cruise is everyone’s dream come true. All subjective”.
The social media has since then gone into a meltdown.
People from all over the country, even outside Pakistan, condemned the so-called “humour” behind Fasih Ahmed’s tweets and have called him out on his insensitivity towards the victims of sexual assault.
One Facebook user, Syed Faizan Raza Rizvi stated, “This [Fasih Ahmed] is the editor of Newsweek Pakistan (Newsweek) making jokes about rape and child sexual abuse. He also runs the Lahore Literary Festival, if I’m not mistaken. It’s time men like him are held accountable. THIS NEEDS TO END. With opinions like this, and thinking he can STILL express them freely without consequences, he should not be allowed to continue working in the capacities he currently is.
Make sure you make enough noise about this. Make sure some action is taken.
DON’T LET THE ANGER DIE. DON’T.”
Similarly, Jeremy McLellan, a renowned US based comedian who has also amassed quite a large Pakistani following stated on Facebook: “This is how Fasih Ahmed, the EDITOR OF NEWSWEEK IN PAKISTAN, responded to little Zainab’s rape and murder this morning. Why does he still have a job?”
Twitter user, Anum stated,”What hope is there when the ‘literary elite’ of the country has been reduced to absolute garbage like @therealfasih, who makes light of rape? Maybe after we remove diseases like this from society, we can find a way to move forward”.
Ibrahim Tanweer, another Twitter user in harsh words criticised Fasih Ahmed and stated,” @therealfasih is a vile, repuslive [sic] carbuncle of a person who spews egregiously ignorant and disgusting views on his Twitter and he needs be held accountable for his words”.
After the social media went into a frenzy, the issue was also noticed by Alyssa Milano, an American actress, activist, producer and former singer. She took to Twitter and flagged Newsweek for its association with Fasih Ahmed. “Hey, @Newsweek. Me again. Just flagging the below tweet for you coming from a guy who says he works for you,” she stated.
Later on, after a strong backlash from social media users, Fasih Ahmed Wednesday evening retracted his statements, as he put the blame on “anger, poorly phrased” words, also saying that he was being “misread” by social media users.