Police in Iran arrested six young adults over the weekend for posting a music video on YouTube in which they dance and lip synch to “Happy.” Tehran’s police chief reportedly called the video “obscene” and said it “offend[ed] public morals.” Particularly problematic was how the women were not wearing headscarves and men and women are shown dancing together.
After an outcry from human rights groups, the six were released yesterday and have posted appreciation for the worldwide support they’ve received over social media. However, the director of the amateur music video is still in police custody.
The six made the video over the course of eight hours in April, using an iPhone 5S, and posted it on YouTube. Somehow it got the attention of Tehran’s police — which only made the video go viral. On Tuesday night, the six were forced to apologize for making the music video on state TV as the Tehran police chief called their music video “vulgar” and accused them of “hurt[ing] public chastity.”
The six were reportedly freed on a $100,000 bail. The video’s director, Sassan Soleimani, is still in custody and will be prosecuted, according to the International Campaign For Human Rights.
Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani — who claims to be a moderate — tweeted yesterday, “#Happiness is our people’s right. We shouldn’t be too hard on behaviors caused by joy.” Ironically, over the weekend, the president had given a speech in which he said Iranians should not be restricted from the Internet, saying, “We must recognize our citizens’ right to connect to the World Wide Web.”
Pharrell condemned their arrests, writing on his Facebook page, “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness.”
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