TikTok star arrested for ‘immoral’ video in Saudi Arabia

Tala Safwan, who has millions of followers, denies that her video has connotations about homosexuality.

A popular Egyptian influencer was arrested in Saudi Arabia on charges of posting videos about homosexuality on social media.

Tala Safwan, who has five million followers on TikTok and about 800,000 on YouTube, provoked the ire of Saudi authorities with a recent video that police said had lesbian connotations.

Safwan said that was not his intention.

Police in the extremely conservative country, however, said the video “may harm public morality”.

The young vlogger uses an upbeat, laid-back style to speak to teenagers.

Her videos have catchy titles and she often discusses TV shows or questions sent in by her followers — mostly about relationships and embarrassing situations.

In response to the allegations, Safwan claimed that she was misunderstood and denied that there was any subtext about homosexuality in her comments – a subject that is still largely taboo in Saudi Arabia.

She argued that the video was taken out of context with the aim of causing a scandal.

Riyadh police announced that they had arrested “a local resident” who “appeared on a broadcast talking to another woman, and they were discussing sexual and suggestive content, something that could have a negative impact on public morality”.

Police didn’t exactly name Tala Safwan, but included a snippet of the video with her and her friend’s faces blurred.

The episode comes just days after the Saudi social media regulator demanded that YouTube remove ads that the country’s authorities consider “offensive to Muslim values ​​and principles”. The government threatened to take legal action if nothing was done.

The censorship came after many parents in Saudi Arabia complained that their children were being exposed to inappropriate content in advertisements broadcast on YouTube.

This text was originally published in https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/internacional-62313301

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