Iran Arrests 6 for 'Vulgar' Video of Pharrell's 'Happy'

Clip 'hurt public chastity,' Tehran's top cop says

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 21, 2014 5:33 AM CDT | Updated May 21, 2014 7:30 AM CDT
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(Newser) – A joyful homemade video of Pharrell Williams' "Happy" resulted in arrest and public humiliation for six young Iranians. Tehran's chief of police says the six people seen singing and dancing on the city's rooftops—including three unveiled young women—created a "vulgar clip which hurt public chastity," the Telegraph reports. The six were forced to publicly apologize on state television, reports the New York Times, which notes that the arrests came just days after Iran's president described Internet censorship as "passive and cowardly."

The "Happy in Tehran" clip, which had more than 160,000 views on YouTube, was one of scores of "Happy" covers created around the world to mark the United Nations' International Day of Happiness, reports MTV. The video was created to show that young Iranians "have moments of joy and happiness even though they live with many difficulties," one of the dancers in the video said in an interview last month, explaining that the women had "covered our hair with wigs" to conform to Islamic dress codes. "It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness," Pharrell said on his Facebook page.

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