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A Kuwaiti state television news anchor has been suspended after she called a male colleague ‘handsome’ on air. according to media reports.

According to Al Arabiya English, anchor Basima Al-Shammar was hosting the live coverage of Kuwait’s municipal elections last weekend. As she was handing over to a male colleague Nawaf Al-Shiraki, she joked that he should stop adjusting his headwear on camera, as he was ‘already handsome’.

Her casual comment was interpreted as ‘flirtatious’ by some and caught the attention of a Kuwaiti Member of Parliament, who complained about it on Twitter. The journalist has defended her remark as ‘routine’ and says the furore over it has left her confused.

A video that subsequently went viral shows Nawaf Al-Shiraki adjusting his gutra or traditional headgear as he appears on air. That’s when Ms Al-Shammar says in Arabic, “No need to fix your gutra, Nawaf, you look handsome!” The word she uses is “maizyoon,” which translates into ‘cute’ or ‘handsome’ in the Kuwaiti dialect.

It’s an off-the-cuff comment that the reporter appears not to hear or respond to.

Saudi Arabia’s Arab News reports Ms Al-Shammar’s comment was considered ‘flirtatious’ by some while according to Kuwait’s Al-Qabas newspaper, MP Mohammad Al-Hayef tweeted the Gulf country’s Ministry of Information, writing that such a “slip of tongue” should not be tolerated on state television.

That led to the ministry handing out a temporary suspension to the anchor, pending an investigation into the matter.

Agencies

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