A TV presenter in the Ivory Coast has been suspended after asking a guest billed as a convicted rapist to physically demonstrate how he sexually assaulted women.
As part of the segment, a mannequin was brought onto a stage in front of a studio audience, which the unnamed guest used to simulate his past assaults. The show’s host, Yves de M'Bella, laughed as the demonstration took place, before inviting the same guest to give women advice on how to avoid being sexually assaulted.
Since its broadcast last night, nearly 50,000 people have signed a petition calling for M’Bella to be fired and the primetime show, Télé D’ici Vacances, to be cancelled.
“This act is insulting and humiliating for women victims of rape,” the petition reads. “At a time when we are talking about Generation Equality and the fight against violence against women, it is reductive that television, whose role is to educate, is complicit in violence against women by giving voice to a rapist.”
As anger across the country spread, the show’s broadcaster, Nouvelle Chaine Ivorienne (NCI), issued an apology, confirming that M’Bella would be suspended for “this serious and regrettable mistake” and expressing “solidarity with women who are victims of violence and abuse of all kinds.”
In a statement on behalf of the government, Nassénéba Touré, minister for women, said: “I strongly condemn these despicable acts and these comments by the guest and the host.