Eric Omondi, one of Kenya’s leading comedians, is in trouble. This week, he posted a video on social media that many thought was out of line and a violation of the rights of the children captured in the clip.
In the video, the comedian is seen covering his nether regions using his hands while joining a group of naked boys for a skinny dip in a river somewhere in rural Kenya.
To say that Kenyans, especially those active on social media, were angry could be the understatement of the month. They were livid. How could Eric, a celebrated comedian, dare to film naked children and even worse, share the video on social media? Does he know anything about children’s rights?
Eric bowed to pressure and apologised using his social media pages saying: “I have been a comedian all my life… Many are the times that I have erred… Today was one of those days. I have offended so many. I did not in any way intend to offend anyone… I AM DEEPLY SORRY FOR THAT…”
Well, Eric, I have news for you. You did not have to apologise.
I am going to be one of the people who will say this, the comedian did nothing wrong. Let us first get a few facts right before I can make my argument.
Eric is a great young man, with a fine, creative head on his shoulders. He is, by any standards, a successful man, one of the few Kenyan comedians who are actually funny. He is creative, ever churning well-thought out and brilliantly executed comedy videos.
SENSE OF HUMOUR
He is a Kenyan who has overcome a difficult background and worked hard to be where he is today and achieved much at a young age.
Now, regarding the video.
Eric’s only crime was to release the video to a people with no sense of humour; people who see evil in everything; who criticise anything and everything for the sake of criticising.
Those criticising him are mostly people whose minds are in the gutter, whose hearts are so carnal, that they sexualise everything and anything without considering the context.
Let’s talk about context. First, Omondi’s video was an effort to parody a scene from the film The God’s Must Be Crazy. His video is also reminiscent of the good old days when naughty boys would toss their clothes in the bush and jump in the river for a quick dip and their cheeky friends would hide their clothes.
Omondi just wanted to recreate the village life and a movie scene with an underlying theme of celebrating our African culture. He wanted to tickle us, because that is what comedians do. They strive to make us laugh, and that is perhaps one of the toughest jobs on earth.
Therefore, we must allow for trials and errors without crucifying the young man. His video had absolutely nothing to do with exposing children in a sexual manner, neither was it ill-intended nor malicious.
OUT OF CONTEXT
Granted, there is always room for improvement, even for Eric. He should have blurred the images or maybe he should not have appeared nude in the video. I also realised that malicious and jealous people also took advantage of this moment to pour their vitriol on him.
What was also wrong was for pseudo-feminists to make the video about what it was not. Eric’s mishap is not about feminism and it was wrong for feminists to use the video as a stick with which to beat Eric for crimes he did not commit.
It was wrong for toxic feminists — who twist anything and everything to fit their ideas on feminism — to make it look like Eric is responsible for everything that is wrong with society.
It is also wrong for people to use this opportunity to lash out and brand him for what he is clearly not and imploring advertisers to stay away from him.
How can you be so malicious that you want a man to lose his daily bread because of a video that was taken out of context?
To Eric Omondi, keep doing your thing. You are talented and you should not let this incident pull you down.
Eric, when they go low, go higher. People should know that creativity is a difficult job, and sometimes you don’t always get it right.
It is true what a wise observer said; “Those who can, do, those who can’t, criticise”.