WTF?! Young Iranians Sentenced To Prison, Lashings For Dancing to Pharrell’s ‘Happy’

While Pharrell’s inescapable hit “Happy” has inspired videos from around the world of people dancing and singing the song, authorities in Iran have had a barbarically draconian reaction to the sight of their own citizens taking part in the viral hit. Either yound Iranians arrested for appearing in a video dancing to the song have been sentenced to up to one year in prison and 91 lashes, according to the BBC

The video, which merely shows three men and three unveiled women dancing happily on the streets and rooftops of Tehran, has been viewed by over a million people on YouTube in the last six months. The group behind the video were arrested by Iranian police for violating Islamic laws, which prohibit dancing with members of the opposite sex and women from appearing without a headscarf. In other words, defying an ancient and unabashedly oppressive desert ideology by dancing is enough to earn horrible physical punishment and imprisonment. 

The majority of people in the video were sentenced to six months in prison, with one member of the group given one year, lawyer Farshid Rofugaran reportedly said. The majority of sentences were suspended for three years, meaning they will not go to prison unless they reoffend, he adds. But the lashings stand.

In what appears to be an attempt to mitigate their perceived wrongdoing, the performers later appeared on state-run TV claiming to be actors who had been tricked into make the “Happy” video for an audition. But at the video’s conclusion, a caption reads: “We have made this video as Pharrell Williams fans in 8hrs, with iPhone 5s. “Happy” was an excuse to be happy. We enjoyed every second of making it. Hope it puts a smile on your face.”


Williams, whose song was nominated for an Oscar earlier this year, was deeply dismayed by the arrests.

“It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” he wrote on Facebook.


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