Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Thursday Rants and Rave : #EP12 “The Rise and Cancelling of Saad Lamajarred”

This is what I ranted in Arabic about in tonight’s episode of “Thursday Rants and Rave” which I am posting two days later: The rise and fall of Moroccan singer Saad Lamajarred.

Honestly, I was not planning to speak and write about Lamajarred this week. I was planning to write about how the family of Malcom-X is suing the FBI, CIA and New York Police Department for his assassination 58 years ago.

The move of the Shabazz ladies comes after three men including a deceased one who were originally convicted for the famous African American rights activist were fully exonerated by New York’s attorney general after finding out that the prosecutors in their case withheld evidence.

For me, a person who lives in the Middle East, the case of Malcolm X, his life and assassination as well as the quest for justice following covers many issues concerning minorities' rights, cults, revisions, civil rights movements, security and the justice system. Malcom-X was only 39 years old when he was killed in New York and from beyond his grave, he still hunts down US authorities.

But 37-year-old Saad Lamajarred suddenly appeared with his trial this week in Paris to reopen another door of issues to be discussed.

Saad Lamajarred
Saad Lamajarred is convicted 

Moroccan singer Saad Lamajarred was sentenced by a Paris Criminal Court to six years in prison for raping a young French lady in a case that goes back to October 2016.

Quickly for those who are unfamiliar, 1985-Saad Lamajarred is considered Morocco’s most famous Arab pop singer in our current times after his music videos broke YouTube’s viewership records in 2013.

The eldest son of famous actors in Morocco, Lamajarred began an A-List Celebrity in the Arab world when his song “LM3ALLEM” got one billion views. Unprecedented achievement for Moroccan singer, Saad Lamajarred was awarded a Knight Order Honor by King Mohamed IV on Youth Day in 2015.

Lamajarred has been by far the Moroccan regime’s poster boy positioned as the hottest and most Moroccan successful export in the Arab world. But it was for a short time before the world would see the dark of the moon.

In October 2016, Saad Lamajarred made international headlines for all the wrong reasons.

He was arrested at Paris Marriott Champs Elysees Hotel on charges of rape and assault of a 20-year-old French woman while intoxicated "Cocaine plus alcohol" on 26 October 2016 in Paris. He was detained pending an investigation into the charges in France. The Lamajarred saga started from there and it has it all: sex, drugs, society, and politics ..etc

In November 2016, it was confirmed that while Lamajarred was in detention in a Paris prison, his lawyers settled down another sexual assault case involving an American woman in New York’s Brooklyn that went back to March 2010.

It turned out that Lamajarred was arrested too and detained for a couple of months in New York pending the investigations into the charges of rape and assault in 2010, but he was released on a bail before fleeing the United States to avoid standing a trial and a sentence that could have reached to 25 years in prison.

Fast-forward to late 2016, it was said that he or rather his lawyers reached a settlement outside the court to avoid begin extradited to the United States.

Just as his lawyers were trying to defend him in Paris and reach a settlement in New York, a 28-years-old Moroccan-French woman living in France reported to French authorities that she was raped and physically assaulted by allegedly Saad Lamajared who was also allegedly under the influence of cocaine and alcohol during a holiday in Morocco in April 2015.

Due to feeling shame, the woman did not come forward except when he was arrested in October 2016. 

In December 2016, due to her family’s pressure the anonymous woman withdrew her accusation against Lamajared but that did not stop the French authorities from asking him about the incident in February 2017 as it seemed that there was a pattern for him.

The popular young Moroccan singer denied knowing the woman in the first place.

Despite the accusations, the Moroccan state or rather the Moroccan Royal Palace stood behind Saad Lamajarred.

Saad Lamarrajed
Saad Lamajarred in Morocco's
football official jersey in 2022
Officially King Mohamed IV paid the fees of prominent French lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti to join the singer’s defense time. Dupond-Moretti is currently the minister of justice in France.

In April 2017, He was released on bail with an electric tag awaiting trial on the condition that he would not work. 

In August of the same year and after being allowed to resume his work without leaving France,  He returned to release more singles as well as music videos generating millions of views in a very short time.

In October 2017,  the electric tag was taken off.

Despite not all the Moroccans supporting Lamajarred, yet it was obvious that the “Royal” and “official state” supported him then. On social media, he got fans from his all over the Arab world and friends from celebs supporting him.

Wild conspiracy theories went viral. They were not the usual accusations of women accusing celebs of rape for money and fame but rather cross-border countries' plots against Morocco and the Youth’s role model. 

There was a wild conspiracy theory that Lamajarred was a victim of an Algerian-French plot to destroy the most successful man coming out of Morocco in our current time !! There was also the old accusation that Lamajarred was a victim of a French racist Islamophobic plot.

Those conspiracy theories fed some hackers who managed to find and publish the full name of Saad Lamajarred’s accuser and the contacts of her family.

The Young French aspiring model found her name and social media accounts swarmed with hate messages and accusations that she was looking for fame and was blackmailing Saad in addition to horrifying threats.

To defend herself, Laura Prioul came out and appeared in a video on her YouTube account in November 2017 revealing more details about the case in French as well as photos showing the traces of the physical assault she endured.

Prioul said that on that night she met with Lamajarred in a disco in Paris and they had a good time with another couple from the singer’s friends. They did not continue the night at the Disco and then moved to the hotel where Lamajarred was staying.

It seems that they were in the lobby and making some noise and they were asked either to leave or keep it quiet. Lamajarred then told her and the other couple that they can continue having a good time in his suite, the couple told Laura that they would come later. She went up with Lamajarred who was intoxicated.

At his suite, Laura said they began to kiss but after the first kiss, she allegedly moved her head away and he did not like it, and hell broke loose. He allegedly physically assaulted her before raping her.

After hours of hell, Laura escaped his suite in a terrible state and was saved by a hotel cleaning lady who hid her from allegedly Lamajarred as he went after in his underparts intoxicated. The cleaning lady called the hotel management who called the police. I think the hotel got a CCTV showing Laura and Lamajarred and what was happening outside his suite.

The popular singer denied raping Prioul and his lawyers said that there was no physical evidence that something happened without her consent

In March 2018, the French authorities allowed Lamajarred to travel to Morocco for 5 days only to promote his new single!!! 

On 26 August 2018, Saad Lamajarred was detained by Saint Tropez police pending an investigation after a complaint was filed by a woman accusing him of rape. Three days later he was released on bail after the investigation due to the contradictions between the testimonies of the accused and eyewitnesses.

On the same day, Lamajarrad’s second lawyer Jean-Marc Fedida said that Lamajarred met the lady in a nightclub at Saint Tropez and afterwards they went to his room where they had consensual sex. Fedida is another big-shot lawyer in France. On 30 August 2018, Dupond-Moretti left Lamajarred’s defense team for an uncleared reason.

In November 2018, he had been cleared of rape charges, but would be tried for "crimes of sexual assault and willful violence”. 

In December 2018, French authorities released Lamjarred on a conditional release and that he was awaiting trial. His Moroccan passport was confiscated, and he would be able to leave France until August 2019.

In January 2020, Saad Lamajarred was referred to the Criminal court in France after an ongoing legal battle between the defendant and the prosecution …etc.

At the same time, the Young Moroccan singer had a strong ongoing media machine trying to save him from cancelling. His music videos continue to get millions of views especially when there is another A-List singer with him like Mohamed Ramadan for instance or self-claimed feminist Elissa of Lebanon

Offline he found a very hard time having concerts in Arab countries thanks to the feminists' online campaigns. He is the first Arab celeb truly to be cancelled despite his state and mainstream media's attempt to support him. 

Even in his own country in Morocco, a growing rejection of Lamajarred and his songs began to take a shape despite the nationalist support he got. His defense team grew when Thierry Herzog, who is known to be the former lawyer of former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Then came last week and we got his trial where we heard new details I believe.

We found Fedida, Lamajarred’s lawyer going on the same old defense that the victim went to his client’s suite with her own will, her own consent and that no one heard her screams. He also added that there were no traces of any attack or rape.

During the trial, we knew that the Moroccan singer admitted that he was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol. He also admitted that he kissed her and that they “took off” their clothes and started to kiss when she pulled her head away. He then “pushed” her face violently which he regrets tremendously now.

Saad Lamajarred
Saad Lamajarred in Paris during his trial 

Lamajarred denied having sex with Laura insisting that there was no penetration of any kind and that it was all a “misunderstanding”. He admitted that when he “woke up”, he felt pain in his back aka “ass I guess” it turned out that the girl beat his “ass” as it seems before escaping.

Without facing Priol face to face, Lamajarred apologized to her for “his violent reaction” adding that he did not want her to be in pain.

He added while crying in front of the court his life was destroyed. He was asked by the judge more than once in court whether he asked Laura Priol why she “acted like that” and he answered, “I do not say that she lied but I say she was mistaken”!!!!!!!!!!

On 24 February, after more than 5 hours of jury deliberations in Paris, Saad Lamajarred was found guilty by seven out of nine jurors.

It turned out that the fact that Laura Priol’s testimony did not change since 2016 played an important role in the verdict along with the testimonies of the eyewitnesses from the hotel cleaning lady and management as well as the medical’s report. 

The medical report stated that there were physical injuries and three lesions inside the vagina. There was no sperm found but that does not mean the rape did not happen.

Laura Priol
Laura and her injuries from her video

There was also a message sent by Laura to her friend on 27 October 2016 detailing what happened telling her explicitly that “she was got hit and raped”

The age difference between them as he was in his 30s while she was only 20 and he was denying some facts.

On Sunday, the lawyers of Lamajarred presented an appeal against the verdict.

Saad Lamajarred still got fans and supporters, especially from his celebs who still defend him in the worst way ever. The Moroccan Royal Palace is completely silent and that’s the latest season involving Saad Lamajarred.

Lamajarred used social media to become a star and amazingly that the social media users also managed to cancel him for real.

We still got an appeal to keep an eye on.

Here is what I ranted about in Arabic. 

Here is the RSS of the Podcast which I hope you follow if you speak Arabic.

Here is the podcast's URL on Spotify and Apple Podcast. It is also available on Stitcher, Google Podcasts and Anghami. Do not forget to leave good reviews on Apple Podcast if you like it and thanks for your time.

I want to thank all those amazing listeners who are kind enough to listen to my rants in Arabic and the amazing readers who are kind enough to read those very long posts in English.

1 comment:

  1. Malcom-X, my hero. I remember growing up in the sixties feeding on his firy, uncompromising speeches. His views certainly resonated with so very many in my generation and beyond. I sincerely hope the sisters will finally get the long overdue vindication and the real criminals exposed further.


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