Facing accusations of sexism and toxic masculinity, the Venice Film Festival has pulled the press credentials of the man who disrupted the screening of The Nightingale by hollering a misogynistic slur targeted at writer/director Jennifer Kent. According to witnesses, a member of the Italian press cried “Shameful whore, you suck!” as Kent’s name appeared in the end credits.
Sharif Meghdoud has come forward, admitting he was this crass disrupter. On Facebook, he issued an apology, which is roughly translated into English below.
Meghdoud took full responsibility, asking, “my gesture identifies me—and only me—as a boor, and not the entire Italian journalistic apparatus that has been attacked from around the world in the last few hours.”
He described his insulting outburst as “a spit out of a mouth.” Meghdoud added, “I am not opposed to whistles and insults at the end of the festival projections but my gesture last night is to be condemned for its extremely explicit and offensive nature. I would first like to apologize to all the people who felt offended by my gesture, to director Jennifer Kent to whom I wish a wonderful career and to Venice/Biennale and directors Paolo Baratta and Alberto Barbera.”
He goes on to rebuke that calling the only female director at the festival a whore was “a sexist or misogynist attack,” and asks “to avoid a public lynching or a crucifixion for what is bullshit not in bad faith.” Meghdoud later updated the post to ask people to stop insulting him. “I’m sorry but besides apologizing,” Meghdoud writes, “regretting and understanding the gravity of my mistake, I don’t know what else to do.”
Being insulted can be pretty embarrassing, especially when it’s public and might impact your career. Maybe Meghdoud will learn something from this experience.
For her part, Kent responded—not to Meghdoud’s apology but to news of his outburst—during a press conference for The Nightingale saying:
I think it’s of absolute importance to react with compassion and love toward ignorance. There is no other option. The film speaks very clearly to that. I am very proud of the film and my crew for daring to tell a story that needs to be told. Love, compassion, kindness are our lifeline and if we don’t utilize them we will all go down the plughole.
Now, let’s hope the conversation around Kent’s Nightingale can be focused on its filmmaker and the film itself. Let this be the last we hear from an admittedly impulsive boor, who is unquestionably sexist.
Header Image Source: Getty