Popular comedian Eric Omondi has bowed to the Kenya Film Classification Board’s pressure to suspend production of his online show, “Wife Material” four days after his arrest.
The KFCB has been in pursuit of the celebrated funny man since a clip from the new season of his online show went viral, portraying the girls involved in the scripted reality show get embroiled in an ugly fight at a club in Nairobi.
The ladies, portrayed as tipsy and violent broke into a fight presumed to be over Omondi, breaking glasses and causing commotion, with both police and the comedian’s bodyguards swooping in to stop the fiery altercation.
In a press briefing early today attended by KFCB Chief Executive Ezekiel Mutua as well as Eric Omondi, the state corporation said that it had come into agreement with the comedian that the content, which was considered explicit and unsuitable for young audience, would be deleted from his YouTube channel.
“The board has keenly examined Eric’s apology and request for an out of court settlement and is willing to settle the case through an alternative dispute resolution on condition that the said Eric Omondi deletes all the explicit content running on his online channels and that the program in contention dubbed ‘Wife Material’ is suspended forthwith until this case is heard and determined and the same fully complies with the provision of the Films and Stage Plays Act Cap 222 of the laws of Kenya,” reads in part the KFCB statement which was read out by its Chief Executive Mutua.
Further, the KFCB announced that it will come up with guidelines for self-regulation that should be observed by online content creators.
In the meeting, it was agreed by the KFCB and Omondi that the board shall withdraw the case against the comedian.
An industry-driven committee comprising of Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o, Daniel “Churchill” Ndambuki and Thomas Kwaka alias Big Ted among others are expected to within fourteen days observe the said complaint and advice the board on the way forward.
“The said committee shall, in conjunction with the board and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation develop guidelines for self-regulation of online content,” read the statement in part.
Hosted comedian @ericomondi_ when he paid me a courtesy call this morning moments before briefing the press on the proposed Mediation Committee and the way forward on his ‘Wife Material Show’ case. @DCI_Kenya@InfoKfcbpic.twitter.com/Q044Cj2RDy — Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, MBS (@EzekielMutua) March 15, 2021
According to the statement, more conditions include that going forward, the producers of the programme must fully comply with the law in that no further explicit content shall be aired on Omondi’s online platforms.
“If the producers of the said show wish to continue with the programme they shall apply for a filming licence and shall submit to the board the script, synopsis, storyboard and filming schedule for approval before production and exhibition of the same,” read the KFCB statement.
Further terms included that producers must submit the recorded show for examination and classification by the board upon completion of production “for agreed appropriateness to ensure protection of children from premature exposure to adult content.”
The statement, which Mutua said was agreed upon between the two parties also noted that Omondi would have to commit to not exhibiting or broadcasting explicit content meant for public consumption on YouTube, Instagram, FaceBook, TikTok and other platforms unless the same has been approved by the board in line with conditions set in the out of court settlement.
Omondi was asked to stop exhibition of content that promoted pornography or that promotes women and youth as sexual objects.
Omondi’s Wife Material Show has been a playful take on dating, however scripted, but similar to international shows like American Broadcasting Company’s (ABC) The Bachelor, that portrays a group of people of one gender, seeking a life partner, all showcasing their potential to love and attempting to win the heart of one eligible bachelor or bachelorette.
In Omondi’s online programme, the girls go on dates with the comedian and each work hard to be the one he picks. The controversy comes up in the nature of dates, as the comedian openly shares passionate kisses and intimate embraces with members of his cast.
The comedian was arrested on March 11 for sharing the content on his online platforms. After he and his cast were released from police cells on Sh 50,000 bond each, the comedian took to his social media saying that he had personally apologized to Mutua and the board.
“I had a very long phone call with Ezekiel Mutua and he is of the very strong opinion that Wife Material does not have to be dirty to sell. I completely agree with him and have sent him a personal apology. The intention has always been to entertain and not to offend and I would like to apologize to anyone who I have offended,” wrote Omondi on Instagram.