A friend of mine just sent the following screenshots my way of Jihad el Murr’s explanation of why MTV decided to fire Enta Horr’s Joe Maalouf (link), following the controversial episode during which he criticized Dekawne’s mayor Shakhtoura. I have decided to publish the screenshots because they offer a viable, albeit possibly incomplete alternative, of what happened. And, for the sake of at least trying to sound professional, here they are:
Much of the above makes sense to me for many reasons, most of which revolve around the notion that it was pretty difficult to believe MTV was always okay with what Maalouf was doing on his TV show. Perhaps they didn’t mind him going on a crusade against the politicians ruining Lebanon’s mountains with their quarries but, regardless of what I or anyone might think of the TV station, I believe they had a problem with many of what of the things Maalouf did on the show, such as naming the victims of the Ayntoura school molestation last year, among many other.
I don’t like Joe Maalouf nor his brand of reporting that borders on the sensationalism. But given newly surfacing information that MTV had given him many heads up about the direction they want his show to go through, who can we blame?
I believe the answer goes both ways.
Joe Maalouf, as an employee at MTV, should have stuck with what they were asking of him. After all, this is what employees do. They weren’t asking him not to say his opinion but to present the other side of his opinion as well, which is quite fair.
MTV, on the other hand, should have at least waited until the end of the show’s current season in order for them to do what they want. The timing of firing Maalouf is the key element that led to the outrage at hand. For all of us, the way this appears to be is the following: major Lebanese TV station silencing a comparably irrelevant person because of his opinion regarding a person who’s politically affiliated with their board of directors. And given information that surfaced around the time of the news that Joe Maalouf was fired, Shakhtoura being a Murr-affiliate definitely played a role.
Perhaps the true reason why MTV fired Joe Maalouf is an accumulation of little kinks here and there that broke the chain with him going on a rampage against someone they like being the straw that broke the camel’s back, which is an unacceptable reason for the camel’s back to break in my opinion. However, if they wanted this not to turn into a Lebanese mini-scandal, they could have at least waited and canceled the show very silently in a few months. They can trust me on this: few people would have minded because many remember all the horrific mistakes Maalouf did on his show.
Joe Maalouf or no Joe Maalouf, I hope MTV at leasts decides to hire someone else to fill in Mr. Maalouf’s place in a show that is similar thematically. There are plenty of more professional journalists out there who are waiting on their major break and plenty of facets in our life as Lebanese that need highlighting. It’s a shame an opportunity to light on some injustices in society goes to waste because of a possibly incompetent employee and a politically charged board of directors.