Moroccan artist Said Naciri has announced his infection with COVID-19 in a YouTube video. Internet users, however, are questioning the veracity of Naciri’s testimony, and many suspect that the footage is an advertisement for the clinic hosting the artist.
The video uploaded on Said Naciri’s official YouTube channel on November 21 is currently the most trending in Morocco.
In the 12-minute footage, the Moroccan actor appears lying on an intensive care bed and narrates his ongoing struggle with COVID-19.
“I have been fighting death and COVID-19 for almost 25 days,” Naciri says in the first seconds of the video.
In a speech punctuated with coughs and groans, the 60-year-old artist expresses his pain and suffering over the past weeks. He described the past 15 days of struggle against COVID-19 as “the most difficult in [his] entire life.”
With tears dripping from his eyes, he announces that his wife and daughter have also contracted COVID-19. The daughter, who was eight months pregnant, underwent a premature C-section to protect the health of her infant.
“What affected me the most was that I was powerless when my eight-month pregnant daughter underwent a C-section to undergo [COVID-19] treatment,” Naciri said.
“Thankfully, my granddaughter did not contract the virus, but she suffered from inflammation and was transferred to another clinic,” he added.
Right after his emotional storytelling, Said Naciri began eulogizing the clinic that hosts him and its staff. Repeatedly mentioning the clinic’s name, he spoke highly of the doctors treating him and the quality of the medical facility’s equipment.
“I was between life and death. The virus had touched my lungs and I was no longer able to breathe. But I had more than 10 specialized doctors around me,” the actor recalled.
Cry for sympathy or advertisement?
While thousands of Moroccans have expressed support for Said Naciri and wished him a speedy recovery, others questioned his speech. The “excessive” compliments of the private clinic, among other indicators, led many to believe that the video was an advertisement.
At the beginning of the video, the artist’s speech is accompanied by video and sound effects to make the footage more suspenseful. The first seconds of the video also show the name of the private clinic in full screen.
Critics of the footage also wondered how the cameraman had access to the intensive care unit hosting Said Naciri. In all Moroccan hospitals, only medical staff are allowed to enter units hosting COVID-19 patients.
Finally, some doubters highlighted that Naciri or the people working on his YouTube channel recently uploaded a funny clip from one of the artist’s old comedy plays. The video, uploaded on November 11, would have been published while the actor was between life and death, which seems inappropriate.
On the other hand, those suspicious of Said Naciri’s honesty might have overlooked that the Casablanca native lost his older brother Mohamed to COVID-19 in April. Faking or exaggerating a COVID-19 infection for material gains does not seem plausible for someone who recently lost a loved one due to the disease.
With no clarification available yet from Said Naciri’s family or the clinic, one can only wonder if cynicism is growing among Moroccans or if marketing campaigns are becoming truly insensitive.