Seven Pharrell Williams fans are going to jail and receiving lashes for singing “Happy” in a viral video — this is not a joke. Three unveiled girls sang and danced with three boys — and one guy filmed it — and this is what it got them.
According to the Guardian, the viral hit, which amassed over one million views, was just for fun — but the Iranian government saw it as a "vulgar breach of the Islamic republic's values.”
Arrested in May, the seven were released on bail after publicly apologizing for the “Happy” video on state television.
During their trial, the men were found guilty of the illegal distribution of a film and illicit relations, their lawyer Farshid Rofougaran said.
One female dancer was sentenced to a year in prison and 91 lashes for posting the footage online, while the five other dancers and the clip's director were sentenced to six-months and 91 lashes. All of the sentences were suspended for three years.
Now the seven aren’t sure if they want to appeal their sentences. I must point out: A suspended sentence does not mean cancelled. Amnesty International is involved, calling the sentences “absurd” and “unjust.”
And then the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted this statement: "Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviours caused by joy."
Are you sure about that President Rouhani? Because jail time and lashes seems pretty harsh.