- Tala Safwan is a popular TikToker with almost 5 million followers and 160 million likes.
- Saudi Arabian police arrested her after she did a stream with what they called “sexual content.”
- Safwan had denied her video had anything of sexual nature and claimed it was taken out of context.
An Egyptian TikToker with nearly 5 million followers was arrested after hosting a livestream that police in Saudia Arabia claim had sexual content and was against “public morals.”
Tala Safwan, who also has over 860,000 subscribers and 14 million views on YouTube, is a popular influencer who makes a variety of trend-style, vlog, and comedy videos. Many of her TikToks have amassed over 10 million views, and she has over 160 million likes. Her first videos date back to early 2021.
Police reportedly arrested Safwan earlier this week after she told another woman on a TikTok stream to come to her house, adding that “everyone will be asleep” so they wouldn’t hear her making noise or “how much fun we’ll be having,” according to the outlet Middle East Eye.
The video received backlash on social media and a hashtag denigrating her that translates into “Tala offends society” circulated on Twitter, according to Vice. Safwan stated that her comments were taken out of context and denied the allegations social media users made against her.
The Saudi Public Security authority’s official Twitter posted a statement Monday saying Riyadh police had “arrested a resident who appeared in a broadcast talking to another with sexual content and suggestion that would prejudice public morals.” The tweet didn’t mention Safwan by name, but included an extremely blurred clip from the influencer’s TikTok live stream which has over 1.6 million views.
It’s unclear whether Safwan is still being detained, or what charges she faces. She hasn’t posted a new TikTok video in over a week, and her last YouTube clip is from a month ago. Same-sex sexual activity is criminalized in Saudi Arabia in accordance with the government’s interpretation of Islamic law, according to Human Rights Watch and LGBTQ people can face extreme punishments that include the death penalty. LGBTQ people in Saudi Arabia have frequently been targeted by authorities in recent years, according to the Human Dignity Trust rights group.