Eric Omondi. [Courtesy]

Comedian Eric Omondi has bowed to the Kenya Film Classification Board’s pressure to suspend production of his online show, Wife Material 2, four days after his arrest.

The KFCB has been pursuing Omondi since a clip from the new season of his show went viral. In the clip, the women involved in the scripted show seemed to be engaged in a fight at a Nairobi club. The brawl was presumably over Omondi, with people dressed like police officers and the comedian’s bodyguards trying to stop them. 

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In a press briefing attended by KFCB chief executive Ezekiel Mutua as well as Omondi, the state corporation said that it had reached an agreement with the comedian that the content, which was considered explicit and unsuitable for young audiences, 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 programme 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,” says the KFCB statement which was read Mutua.

Further, 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 KFCB and Omondi that the board shall withdraw the case against him.

An industry-driven committee comprising Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o, Daniel “Churchill” Ndambuki, and Thomas Kwaka alias Big Ted is expected to look in to the complaint and advise the board on the way forward within 14 days. “The said committee shall, in conjunction with the board and the Directorate of Criminal Investigation develop guidelines for self-regulation of online content,” Mutua said.

Other conditions stipulated are that the producers of the show must fully comply with the law and 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 license and shall submit to the board the script, synopsis, storyboard and filming schedule for approval before production and exhibition of the same,” reads the KFCB statement.

The agreement would also see Omondi commit not to exhibit or broadcast explicit content meant for public consumption on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and other platforms unless the same has been approved by the board.

Omondi was asked to stop exhibition of content that promoted pornography or that promotes women and youth as sexual objects. In Omondi’s show, the girls go on dates with the comedian, and each works hard to ensure she is the one he picks.

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The controversy comes up in the nature of dates, as the comedian seemingly deep kisses them. The comedian and his cast were arrested on March 11 for sharing the content on his online platforms.

After they were released from police cells on Sh50,000 bond each, he said that he had apologised to the board. “I had a very long phone call with Ezekiel Mutua and he is of the opinion that Wife Material does not have to be dirty to sell.

“I completely agree with him and I have sent him a personal apology. The intention has always been to entertain and not to offend and I would like to apologise to anyone I have offended,” Omondi posted on Twitter. In 2016, Kenya banned explicit content, including talk-shows and radio programmes that discuss sex between 5am and 10pm.