Pharrell Williams has tweeted his disapproval of the arrest of a group of young Iranians who were filmed dancing to his hit single Happy. Members of the group were forced to issue a televised apology, during which they alleged that the video was the work of a deceitful talent agent.
As Nine News reports, Iran’s strict broadcasting laws, which bans dancing among other restricted behaviours, promptly arrested the dancers after the video went viral. Fan-made videos of people dancing to the song have become quite popular, with clips uploaded from around the world.
In an apology aired on state television, the ‘Happy in Tehran’ dancers said that an agent assured them that the performance was permitted by the authorities and that he would make them stars. “They told us this movie would not be broadcast anywhere,” explained one of the dancers.
“They told us to come for an audition and told us they would make us global superstars,” she added. The apology also contained a warning from a police officer to young people, urging them not to be seduced by the filmmakers behind what he refferred to as “a vulgar clip which hurt public chastity.”
“It’s beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” wrote the man behind the song on Twitter. News of the dancers’ arrest comes just days after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned internet censorship as “cowardly” and endorsed it as an important resource.
Watch: Pharrell Williams – Happy (We Are From Tehran)
It's beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness http://t.co/XV1VAAJeYI
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) May 21, 2014
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) May 17, 2014