Pharrell Calls Arrest of 'Happy' Video Dancers in Iran 'Beyond Sad'

Three men and three women were arrested in Tehran, Iran for their choreographed take on the No. 1 hit

Six young Iranians have been arrested for dancing to "Happy" in a viral YouTube hit and Pharrell Williams isn't pleased.

"It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness," Williams said via Facebook today, linking to a news story on the incident.

On May 19, the video was posted to YouTube, showing a group of young men and women dancing around the Iranian capital of Tehran to Pharrell's No. 1 hit. What seemed an innocuous, cheerful gesture enraged the culturally-conservative Iranian government. According to CNN, Tehran Police Chief police chief Hossein Sajedinia ordered the arrests of the dancers over an "obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace." Sajedinia said the "vulgar clip" had "hurt public chastity."

Pharrell Williams Plots Fall European Tour

The hashtag #FreeHappyIranians has taken off on Twitter, as the protest goes viral.

On the bright side, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani appears to side with the "Happy" dancers in a tweet today:

The Iranian "Happy" video is only one of countless viral adaptations from fans around the globe. In an recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Pharrell was brought to tears by how his fans helped drive the success of the single, which topped the Hot 100 for 10 consecutive weeks.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.