Prosecutors from Egypt's feared state security unit this week called in Vodafone Egypt executives for questioning about allegations that it was delivering coded messages to Muslim Brotherhood terrorists … via a commercial starring puppets. Egypt has been buzzing over the ad, in which a motherly figure named Abla Fahita chats with an unseen character called "Mama Touta." Fahita, a widow, is looking for her husband's missing SIM card, and talks about searching a mall with a sniffer dog, the Independent explains. It seemed harmless until blogger and youth activist Ahmed Spider spent nearly an hour on TV dissecting its supposed symbolism, the New York Times reports.
Spider saw Mama Touta as the Muslim Brotherhood, a red ornament as a bomb, and so on. A Vodafone spokesperson called in saying, "I'm sad that we have reached this level of thinking." The 25-year-old Spider is a repeat conspiracy theorist, who once called Egypt's 2011 revolution a Masonic plot, according to the Financial Times. Abla Fahita herself (yes, the puppet) appeared on TV Wednesday to debunk the plot, saying, "I am a comedic character." Some Egyptians have lent credence to the theory, but it's being widely mocked online, the Economist reports. Fake support groups are cheekily protesting the puppet's likely torture by police, while others call for a puppet-hunt for Mama Touta. (Read more Egypt stories.)