Moroccan hitmaker and pop star Saad Lamjarred has recently been handed six years in prison, and a potential ban from French territory, following a court hearing which found him guilty of aggravated rape and assault on a 20-year-old woman in a luxury Parisian hotel room in October 2016. Under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the attack, which the court deemed an aggravating circumstance, the chart-topping artist, who is incredibly popular in the region, has been under the fire of critics for years now as his behavior off the stage seems to be far from the ideal son-in-law image he may give off to some.
Postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other legal obstacles, the trial, and ensuing verdict has been a long time coming, with the victim finally feeling a sense of justice for the first time maybe since the time of the offense. Back then, the now 37-year-old artist was arrested after Laura P., the complainant, testified against him by describing what she remembers as “a nightmare evening” that involved non-consensual intercourses, and battery. Also worth noting in the case, the Moroccan king, who had previously awarded Lamjarred the country’s highest national decoration, had initially intervened to cover the singer’s legal fees. However, as the decision was met with criticism, news of it was later deleted from Moroccan state media with the formerly appointed lawyer confirming in 2018 that he was no longer representing Lamjarred.
Despite the accusations, the Ensay singer continued to perform and collaborate with some of the biggest names in scene, causing controversy and backlash as soon as news of his performances became publicized. One of his planned showcases in Cairo in 2020 was in fact canceled after a viral rally under the hashtag “We do not want Saad Lamjarred in Egypt” gained momentum and materialized into concrete action.
This verdict may mark the end of Lamjarred’s musical career and the real beginning of his downfall as the singer still faces possible imprisonment in other pending cases. He is notably due to be tried in the Var Assize Court in France, for a similar incident that took place in 2018 while also dealing with multiple other accusations of sexual assault in his native Morocco and the United States.
While some fans still somehow continue to support the singer, others have been vocal about their disgust, sparking larger conversations about sexual assault and the power dynamics at play in the music industry. Lamjarred’s popularity and influence have shielded him from consequences for years, however, the outcome of the trial proves that even the most famous and powerful can be held accountable for their actions, potentially putting an end to the industry’s long history of turning a blind eye to sexual misconduct and abuse.