Ivory Coast TV channel airs show with rape convict simulating sexual assault on dummy

Ivory Coast TV channel airs show with rape convict simulating sexual assault on dummy
The channel has apologised and said it was committed to respecting women’s rights

A television channel in Ivory Coast has suspended a news presenter for 30 days after a prime-time show asked a convicted rapist to show how he assaulted his victims.

The programme, aired by the private Nouvelle Chaine Ivorienne (NCI) channel, prompted outrage with more than 37,000 people signing a petition demanding action against the host Yves de Mbella, reported AFP.

“Tell me I’m dreaming,” an Ivorian rapper, PrissK wrote on Facebook. “It’s sickening, unacceptable, disrespectful especially to the woman.”

Ivory Coast’s independent communications council announced the suspension of Mr De Mbella, who hosted the segment, and released a statement saying it contained obscene language, condoned rape and attacked the dignity of women, reported Reuters.

NCI also apologised for airing the segment saying it was committed “to respecting human rights and in particular those of women”, and expressing its “solidarity with women who are victims of violence and abuse of all kinds”, according to AFP.

Apologizing for his “error”, Mr De Mbella posted on Facebook that he is “sincerely sorry to have shocked everyone while trying to raise awareness”.

“I’m also sorry for everything that was said or done during that sequence of the programme yesterday that hurt,” he added. “I beg for forgiveness from all victims of rape.”

During the segment aired on Monday, the anchor introduced his guest as an ‘ex-rapist’ and asked him to simulate rape using a mannequin, reported AFP.

According to Al Jazeera, at one point, Mr De Mbella also adjusted the dummy and asked the guest if he preferred his victims to be “slim or fat” and whether they “enjoyed it”.

Towards the end of this “demonstration”, Mr De Mbella also invited his guest to “advise” women on how to avoid getting sexually assaulted.

In the wake of the controversy, rights groups have demanded that Mr De Mbella be removed from the Miss Ivory Coast pageant which he is scheduled to host on 4 September.