UPDATE: Six of the dancers have since been released. The director of the viral video remains in custody.
Six Iranians were arrested yesterday (May 20) for dancing in a viral video celebrating Pharrell’s song “Happy.” And now Pharrell is speaking out in their defense.
Pharrell took to Facebook today to comment on the arrests of the three men and three women who participated in the viral clip, which, like the singer’s original video, features the six Iranians dancing to the song in different locations.
“It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” he wrote in the post that, at time of publication, had nearly 32,000 likes.
According to CNN, the Tehran Police Chief 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.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has also commented on the arrests via his Twitter writing, “#Happiness is our people’s right. We shouldn’t be too hard on behaviors caused by joy.” The tweet reportedly reiterates a comment the President made in June of last year. The date, 29/6/2013 is included at the end of the tweet.