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TikTok star arrested in Saudi Arabia over video

An Egyptian TikTok star has been arrested in Saudi Arabia after being accused of posting a video with lesbian undertones, according to BBC News.

Tala Safwan, who has 4.9 million followers on TikTok, was arrested in Riyadh, where she lives, last month, according to the Egyptian media outlet Egyptian Streets.

Saudi police said a woman who appeared in a sexually suggestive video that could have a “negative impact on public morality” had been apprehended. They did not mention Safwan’s name, but police included a clip of her TikTok video, per Egyptian Streets.

The offending clip, which shows Safwan talking to a female Saudi friend, sparked an online backlash in Saudi Arabia. A Twitter hashtag that translates as “Tala offends society” was trending in the country, per BBC News.

In the video, Egyptian Streets reported that Safwan asked her friend to visit her house, saying that “everyone will be asleep” and that “no one will hear her scream.”

It was interpreted by some online and by Saudi authorities as having a lesbian subtext, which Safwan denies, per BBC News.

She said that the clip had been taken out of context, BBC News reported.

Wajeeh Lion, a US-based LGBTQ rights advocate, who is originally from Saudi Arabia, told Insider that government officials are trying to “prove a point” with the arrest. 

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