Conflict & Justice

Omar Sharif accused of slapping woman at film fest


Actors Omar Sharif and Antonio Banderas speak onstage at Arab Film Competition Awards during day 5 of the 2011 Doha Tribeca Film Festival Katara Opera House 1 on October 29, 2011 in Doha, Qatar.



Omar Sharif landed himself in a bit of hot water this weekend after a camera crew captured the Egyptian screen legend slapping a woman on the red carpet of a film festival in Qatar.

Sharif was in Qatar to attend the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. On Thursday, the 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Dr. Zhivago' star was standing on the red carpet for a photo opportunity.

That’s where Sharif apparently slapped a female fan.

In a video of the incident, which was obtained by TMZ, an unidentified woman approached Sharif for a picture. Sharif initially appeared willing to please the fan, smiling for a snapshot with the young lady. Then, another journalist asks Sharif to move away for a picture with just just him in the frame.  But the woman did not seem to comply.

Sharif then lost his temper and hits out in the direction of the woman’s head. After the swipe, Sharif yells at the woman in Arabic.

The Washington Post translated the exchange:

“My dear!” Sharif exclaimed in Arabic, swatting at the lady, “I told you I’d get to you afterwards! I just said that and you’re standing here. Put something in your brain!”

Afterwards, Sharif apologized to the woman cozied back up to her for yet another photo.  The woman, apparently unfazed, then walks off.

More from Cairo: The solitary life of Omar Sharif

But one Arab-American organization is demanding a public apology from Sharif, according to TMZ.

"There is no reason to use violence toward anyone for any reason," Mona Farroukh told TMZ. "The least [Sharif] can do is apologize and seek forgiveness from [the woman] in public.  My message to him is 'stay a gentleman Omar.'"

This was not the first time Sharif has been accused of losing his temper.  In 2005, the actor was sued for punching a parking valet in Beverly Hills.  Sharif reportedly became peeved after the attendant told him Euros were not an acceptable form of payment to retrieve his Porshe.  

Eyewitnesses said Sharif’s ‘slap’ on Thursday was overblown by the media - and a viral video that was largely obstructed by the woman’s head. 

One journalist on the scene tweeted that Sharif’s hit was “unintentional.”  Another reporter told Arabian Business the same story. 

“I was there straight afterwards and spoke to the journalists and press officers there who all said it wasn’t an actual slap, but a ‘swipe’ and that the woman was fine,” journalist Becky Lucas told Arabian Business.