A group of young Iranians were released by officials after being held for dancing to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, according to Iranian political satirist and radio host Kambiz Hosseini. The stars in the video and the director were arrested in Tehran after the “Happy” tribute video went viral in Iran. The video, a tribute to the smash hit, shows several men and unveiled women dressing in trendy fashion dancing in the streets of Iran.
“Happy” Tribute Video:
The video was taken down by Iranian officials but copies have circulated on the internet. Over 300,000 have seen the video on YouTube. As news of this incident spread, the hashtag #FreeHappyIranians was created in support of those who participated in the “Happy” video.
Pharrell tweeted and wrote on Facebook yesterday about the incident, saying: “It’s beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness.”
The group was forced to apologize on Iranian State Television for their participation. Although this kind of censorship has reigned since the Iranian Revolution in the 1970’s, not every authority figure seems to be on board with the recent arrest.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who has been flirting with the idea of modernizing the country, tweeted on May 17 that: “#Cyberspace should be seen as opportunity: facilitating two-way communication, increasing efficiency & creating jobs.”
The director of the “Happy” tribute video is still being held by officials while the stars are currently being released on bail.