Six young Iranians were arrested earlier this week after a video was posted online in which they were featured dancing to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy.”

From CNN:

Apparently, dancing to a song about happiness in Iran can get you arrested.

Six Iranians are behind bars after they appeared in a fan video set to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” the American hit song that has sold millions of downloads worldwide.

Tehran Police Chief Hossein Sajedinia ordered the arrests of the three men and three women because they helped make an “obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace,” the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported Wednesday.

There is additional back story in this Huffington Post article.

Here’s the video, which was originally posted to YouTube weeks ago (it has reportedly since been made private but other uploads of it are posted around the internet):

The group was later forced to repent in a video that was broadcast on Iranian state television, according to the NY Times and other news reports.

Pharrell Williams expressed his disappointment on Twitter and on his Facebook page upon hearing of the arrests. And news of the arrests also sparked support for the six Iranians on social media, inspiring the hashtag #freehappyiranians.

As Professor Jacobson has previously noted, similar cover versions of the “Happy” video have also been done in places such as Gaza and Israel.

Update – CNN has updated its earlier article to reflect this updated news:

Five of the six people who were arrested in Iran for involvement in a YouTube video dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” have been freed, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said Wednesday, citing a source close to the families.

The director of the video was not released, the group said.

One of the six announced that she was freed. “Hi I’m back,” Reihane Taravati wrote on her Instagram account, thanking Williams and “everyone who cared about us.”

See below for an earlier full video report from CNN.

[Featured image: YouTube video]


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.