‘I have sinned against my country’: reporter who fluffed DiCaprio Oscars question apologises

Youm7’s Shaimaa Abdel Monem was trolled online after stumbling over her lines during the post-Academy Awards press conference

‘What was your question?’ … Leonardo DiCaprio, left, with The Revenant director Alejandro González Iñárritu, responding to a reporter at the Oscars press conference.
‘What was your question?’ … Leonardo DiCaprio, left, with The Revenant director Alejandro González Iñárritu, responding to a reporter at the Oscars press conference.

An Egyptian journalist who was mocked after asking Leonardo DiCaprio meaningless questions in the wake of his best actor Oscar win has apologised.

Shaimaa Abdel Monem was the subject of trolling and internet memes across Arab nations in the Middle East and north Africa after getting the chance to pose the final question during an official post-Academy Awards press conference in Hollywood on 28 February. In mumbled tones, she asked: “What about the first Oscar for you?” and then, after DiCaprio politely queried exactly what she was asking: “For your Oscar … it’s the first, what about that?”

Eventually, the bemused actor responded: “It feels amazing. Yeah, it is the first … Like I said, I’m just incredibly grateful,” as The Revenant director Alejandro González Iñárritu and the assembled press corps struggled to hold back giggles.

Abdel Moneim, who works for the Youm7 TV network, has been ruthlessly trolled on the internet since her unexpected moment in the spotlight. DJs have recorded remixes of her comments to DiCaprio and the Saudi Arabia branch of Volkswagen posted a photograph on social media asking: “For your fist Volkswagen car, waz abouz it?”

The reporter wrote on her Facebook page that the public shaming that followed her trip to Los Angeles had affected her young family, but said she hoped to learn from the experience.

“I have sinned against myself and my country. I also wronged the paper that trusted me … and let down readers who wanted stronger coverage,” she said, in comments translated by the Cairo Post. “I received an opportunity and missed it because of my lack of experience … I can get over the humiliation and criticism of my performance, but the personal insults have affected my husband, daughter and family.”

Abdel Moneim said she hoped her daughter might one day look up to her and realise the hard work her mother had to do in order to get to Hollywood in the first place.

“I promise that this experience is a lesson I will not forget … It has taught me that being a good journalist will require hard work,” she said, promising to “develop myself and work hard to cover the Oscars next year”.

In other post-Oscars news, sales of Inception-style spinning tops have reportedly gone through the roof after DiCaprio won his first Oscar. Dominick Cobb, the actor’s character in Christopher Nolan’s brainteaser Inception is famous for using spinning tops to work out whether he is dreaming or experiencing reality.



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