#Stripforjackie: Lebanese Olympic skier sparks social media campaign about free speech Favorite 


Feb 10 2014


Beirut, Lebanon

A Lebanese Olympic skier whose topless calendar prompted calls for a ministerial inquiry has unwittingly sparked a social media campaign backing her, with supporters stripping off in solidarity.
Three years ago, Jackie Chamoun posed for a calendar photo shoot. Behind-the-scenes footage recently was posted online, and Lebanon's sports and youth minister reportedly ordered an investigation.
On Tuesday, Chamoun apologised, saying: 'The video and photos that you are now seeing are part of the making of the preparation. It wasn't supposed to go public.

'I want to apologise to all of you, I know that Lebanon is a conservative country and this is not the image that reflects our culture'.
She said the footage that found its way onto the Internet was never supposed to surface. She has spoken about the video with photographer Hubertus Von Hohenlohe, the German prince and skier who is competing in his sixth Olympics for Mexico. She said he apologized.

But the furore over the images has sparked a campaign around the world with people posting naked images of themselves along with the hashtag #stripforjackie.

The campaign, dubbed I Am Not Naked, already has more than 14,000 likes on Facebook.
The quartet behind the campaign, Cynthia-Maria Aramouni, Mohamad Abdouni, Tarek Moukaddem and Carl Halal, wrote on the page: 'Some women are beaten or killed, others are raped, and the media shifts their attention to a confident talented beautiful woman who represents her country at the Olympic games.
'This is about telling our "peers" to set their priorities straight.
'This is to fight censorship.This is for freedom.'

Mr Mouakkadem, who owns a local photograph studio in Lebanon, told the International Business Times: 'A lot of people are actually doing it at home. Four, five years ago we had a lot less censorship. This case, with the Olympic champion, is the final drop that has made it explode.'
Chamoun herself on Thursday insisted that most people have been 'supporting me and defending me'.
Youssef Chamel Khalil, the administrator of Lebanon's Olympic Alpine team, said "there is no problem" for Chamoun, and she will compete in the Sochi Games.
'It's OK. In Lebanon, there is a little bit another way to think,' Mr Khalil said. 'Lebanon is a country of so many cultures.'
Chamoun, 22, is scheduled to race in the slalom Feb. 21.

Topless pictures of a Lebanese Olympic skier competing at the Sochi Winter Olympics have prompted calls for a ministerial inquiry in Beirut after they were leaked online.
The photos of Jackie Chamoun, which were taken for a calendar, show her holding strategically-placed ski equipment to protect her modesty as she poses in Lebanon's Faraya mountains.
But video of the photoshoot and stills from the film, which leave little to the imagination, emerged online this week and were featured on Lebanese television, sparking a flood of complaints.

Her apology did not placate everyone, with Lebanon's Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karami calling on Tuesday for an investigation into the photos to ensure 'the protection of Lebanon's reputation.'
Lebanon is considered among the most liberal countries in the Arab world, with women generally free to wear the skimpiest of attire, and alcohol widely available.
But the society remains culturally conservative by western standards and Chamoun's photos touched off a small firestorm.

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