Lunch Box director sorry for 'painful scene' criticised for resembling suffering in Gaza

Director insists any similarity to real-life video was 'completely unintended' after receiving complaints

Ghada Adel, Jamila Awad and Fadwa Abed star in the Egyptian Ramdan drama Lunch Box. Photo: YouTube
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The director of an Egyptian crime-comedy series has issued an apology following complaints about a scene that appeared to resemble the suffering of a family in Gaza.

Hisham Al Rashidi said any distress caused by the “painful scene” in Saturday's episode of Lunch Box was “completely unintended”.

The Arabic remake of the US series Good Girls is airing nightly during Ramadan on Egyptian broadcaster Al Nahar TV.

It has been criticised for a scene which appeared to closely resemble a video, spread on social media in October, of a Palestinian woman searching a Gaza hospital for her dead son, Youssef, following an Israeli bombing raid.

In the Lunch Box episode broadcast on Saturday, lead character Nada, played by actress Jamila Awad, goes into an electronic store looking for an employee who is also named Youssef. The dialogue that follows is similar to the real-life video from Gaza.

In a post on Instagram Stories, Al Rashidi said: “An apology is due to everyone for whom the dialogue of the painful scene of our sisters [in Gaza] was similar to the dialogue of the scene of the series, which was completely unintended.

“May God give patience to our people in Palestine and help them.”

The scene has been described as insensitive by some viewers, who called for a boycott of the show.

Posting on X, user Israa Al Hakeem wrote: “The least we can do about the decline of the Lunch Box series and its [production] team is to boycott the work … Do not tolerate the pain in Gaza.”

Fellow X user Ahmed Al Hossany used the word “vulgarity” to describe the scene and also criticised “the sloppiness [of] the writing, performance and photography”.

While there has been no official response on her social media channels, Awad reportedly posted a now-deleted statement on X stating that the scene's similarity to the tragic incident in Gaza was not part of the original script and that the tweak was down to actor improvisation.

An Egyptian remake of the American series Good Girls (2019 to 2021), Lunch Box follows the lives of three housewives turning to crime to alleviate their financial struggles.

Updated: March 20, 2024, 12:30 AM