In the well-known ‘Best Ever Food Review Show’ (BEFRS) on his YouTube food and travel channel, the famous American YouTuber Sonny Side has stated that ‘Egypt is one of worst places for film makers,” adding that he would not suggest it for tourists either.
Best Ever Food Review Show (BEFRS) is a YouTube food and travel channel created by American filmmaker William Sonbuchner, well-known as “Sonny Side”.
Although the production team is based in Vietnam with episodes being filmed globally. The show won the 2020 Webby Award for “People’s Voice: Viral Video of The Year” and received a Webby Official Honoree for Food and Drink during the same year.
As of March 2022, the channel, was created by Sonbuchner on September 23, 2010, currently has over 8 million subscribers.
In this episode about Egypt, Sonny Side speaks about how the Egyptian police shut them down in Egypt and confiscated their cameras.
“Let me be clear I like this city, it has a character, but let me be clear I don’t like or respect the people who run it,” Sonny said in his video that went viral in 9 hours, with more than 600 k views and 4,000+ comments.
“The worst place to shoot…” This sums what the American YouTuber wanted to say while documenting his suffering with the Egyptian security during a tour to shoot a video on Egypt’s popular foods.
Sonny Side started his video, saying: “Shortly after arriving in Egypt, the police confiscated all our camera gear. So, this entire series was shot on an iPhone,” the American YouTuber started his video.”
The famous American YouTuber William Sonnebuchner documented his trip to Egypt in a video, during which he talked about the mistreatment he was exposed to by the Egyptian security personnel during his visit to Egypt to highlight the local Egyptian dishes in a series that includes many African countries.
Sonbuchner published the video, under the title “Nightmare Egypt Food Tour!! Police Shut Us Down!! The worst place to film in Africa!”, where the video achieved more than a million views within a few hours of publication.
At the beginning of his viral video, Sonny said, “Once I reached the hotel, my bags were opened and searched more than once. Then the security men came and asked all kinds of questions… The security officers treated us as if we were criminals.”
Sonny also said, “The main slogan in Egypt should be ‘Leave the camera at home and pay a lot of money”.
He pointed out during his speech that the interrogation with him lasted about four hours, during which he was asked about the reason for his visit to Egypt and what exactly he wanted to do and the videos he intended to shoot.
He continued, “The matter ended with the confiscation of all our equipment, including cameras and other tools,” adding, “I don’t really know what caused these people’s suspicion and fear.”
During his trip inside Egypt, Will Sonnbuchner searched for the reason for his investigation in this way, and learned about the January 25 revolution and about “the Egyptian authorities’ concern about the people’s ability to change,” as he described it.
“I decided to use a mobile phone to film my trip, but also ended up going to the police station,” said the famous American YouTuber, expressing his concern, “I don’t know what’s going on with me here.”
During the video , he pointed out that the Egyptian authorities forced him to delete some of the clips he filmed despite obtaining a permit to film, and that the security pursued him during his tour.
He added, “During this series, you will learn about the real Egypt, and what it really means to be a filmmaker in Egypt,” describing Egypt as the worst place in the world to film in.
However, on the other hand, Sonny expressed his great admiration for local foods and monitored the funny situations he faced when visiting the camel market in Egypt.
Sonnebuchner also praised the beauty of the desert in Egypt and its calm and peace, noting that it is “completely far from Egyptian security.”
He concluded the video, saying that the Egyptian people are very kind and extremely friendly, but “Let me be clear I like this city, it has a character, but let me be clear I don’t like or respect the people who run it.”
For their part, users of social networking sites interacted with the video of the American YouTuber and what Sonny was exposed to, and expressed their dissatisfaction with the security men’s mistreatment of him in this way.
For example, a Twitter account, titled, ‘ahmedabdelaziz1’ tweeted: One of the reasons for Egypt’s economic stumble despite reforms and removal of subsidies is that the State is a dictatorship, so it sometimes strangles itself with a rope without knowing it.. An American YouTuber named Will Sonbuchner who runs a program about food and has 8 million followers, yesterday downloaded a video about a series on popular food he was shooting from Africa, and today about Egypt. However, it ended up with him launching a promo that went viral, watched by a million people in less than 24 hours. The promo is titled, “Egypt, worst place to shoot in Africa. The American YouTuber concluded, saying that Egypt is, “a country that treats tourists as criminals”.
On his Facebook account, Islam Lotfy said:
I am proud of him that he started with Saad Al Harami (name of a popular restaurant, that means in Arabic ‘Saad the thief’).. Bravo, my son, by God.
As for the scandal, the issue is normal.. this is a country whose president was not ashamed to say in an international gathering, “If you want me to hold elections, then give me money.” You’ve known this, So, don’t come to talk here about a camera that they confiscated from you”.
Comments on Sonny’s experience in Egypt
Also, there were extremely numerous comments under Sonny’s video. Following are some of these comments about the well-known U.S. YouTuber’s experience in Egypt:
“For a country whose economy tourism plays a significant role, this is an awful way to treat tourists and people like Sunny who would of only promoted the country showing its beauty and culture,” commented a user called Cheap Charlie Chronicles.
Hanan Mahmoud commented on the video, saying: “As an Egyptian I already knew this it’s really sad but unfortunately true. These strict rules are applied even on US the citizens not only tourists. Every city in Egypt has a character and is so filled with years of culture, it was really painful to watch this.”
However, Abiola Stella said: “Loving the team’s intelligence. Eyes on the goal regardless of police interference. Love this episode specially.”
“I never heard sonny so furious that he has cussed at a specific group of people. This is seriously raw, and it’s good that we are getting to see how they treat their main source of income. I hope the government reforms the way they handle things after seeing this,” a fan named Bloodfrost Gaming said
Abdelrahman Elmorsy said, “As an Egyptian and a fan of your show, I can only say that I am truly sorry for your experience, i wish I could say that this is an individual incident but that wouldn’t be true, there is no place for rule of law in Egypt and the police authority comes from them being the police, at least that is how they see it. Each one of them do as they please, they are ignorant, unfriendly and corrupt.”
“I was in Egypt last December with my friends and also had issues with the police. We ended up being stopped by them while they harassed us and went through our phones. Besides that we were lucky enough to meet loads of great people so overall it was a positive experience so long as we avoided the police,” commented a fan nicknamed, ‘1745ali’.
However, Shady Abd Elsalam said, “First of All sorry to Sonny and the rest of his team for what they went through in My country, as you might have noticed the government does not represent the kind people of Egypt, I have been a fan for years now and always wanted to see you come to Egypt and I’m sorry that this is what you got for coming, I wish you all the best in your next travels and If you ever decided to come back make sure you have it planned with someone from inside the country”.
In a long comment on Sonny’s video, an American fan of Egyptian origin, Mohamed Kandil, said:
“Sonny, it’s unfortunate what you’ve gone through. As an American of Egyptian decent, I’ll break it down for you plain and simple. The authorities heckled you and your team not due to legitimate security concerns, but in essence hoping that you had a fistful of cash to “make the problem go away.” The authoritarian government has become so corrupt that literally every government official feels that it is a rite of passage to receive a bribe in exchange for facilitation of formalities. I don’t know if you ever got back your camera equipment, but if you didn’t, well it might end up being sold on ebay for a pretty penny. On top of that, the government is cracking down on anyone that may portray Egypt in a negative light. The current dictator who deposed the first democratically elected president (whether you like him or not) believes he’s a demi-god and that without him, Egypt would have descended into chaos and abyss.”
“Anything that potentially debunks that myth is seen as a threat to national security. The only reason the authorities don’t really care that you’re American is because the US Government has been complicit in funding this government in the name of maintaining certain status quo that is supposedly vital to US interests. The Egyptian Government doesn’t even feel that they are accountable to the US government despite being the second largest recipient of US military aid, right after Israel. Personally, I’ve stayed away for the past 9 years voluntarily. Anyway, I’ll tell you that the best Egyptian food is the food you eat in the villages. The food in the urban centers has largely become nothing more than mass production of imitations of the real thing. Hopefully you’l get another chance to try the food in the villages. Peace!!”.