A viral video has shown the Saudi model Ziiad Almesfer as he was being chased and harassed by a group of youngsters as he was walking in the Saudi capital Riyadh has prompted many mixed reactions on social media.
23-year old Almesfer, who is a prominent social media influencer and one of Saudi's first male models, is famous for Snapchat videos; in which he often posts his latest outfits in addition to dance moves, all un-usual content for males in the conservative country.
While Almesfer's videos usually trigger condemning comments by conservative viewers, who associate him with women, he is also quite a popular figure admired by many social media users, who report "positive energy" after watching his videos.
#كلنا_زياد_المسفر بغض النظر عن آسلوب حياته ، بغض النظر عن طريقته بالحياه ، هالشي يخصه وحده ، اختلاف الناس عنك لايسمح لك ابدا بالتجاوز والتعدي على حريتهم الشخصية ، كون هالشخص ماعتدى عليك مالك حق ابداً تعتدي عليه ، انسان مايناسبك ولايناسب فكرك وتوجهك اتركه مو تآذيه ، عجباً !— Sarah Bint Ali Alshehri (@S_95rs) September 4, 2020
Translation: "Regardless of his lifestyle which is none of our business, being different from you, doesn't give you the right to assault them or violate their personal freedoms. As long as he didn't harm you, you have absolutely no right to attack him. If you don't like him and his style doesn't speak to you, just leave him alone."
Following the spread of the video in which the male model was attacked and mocked in Riyadh streets, several Twitter accounts launched a solidarity campaign using the hashtag (#كلنا_زياد_المسفر: We are all Ziiad AlMesfer), expressing sympathy and appreciation of him.
Some commentators assumed that attacks on the young model become even more severe considering his dark skin color, especially after a number of tweets against him quoted an old classic poetry line by Al-Mutanabbi that associates people of dark skins with salves that says "Don’t buy a slave without a stick to go with him ... Slaves are filthy and ill-tempered," referring to Ziiad.
Translation: "Indeed: Photo reads: Don’t buy a slave without a stick to go with him ..."
However, Almesfere's response to physical and virtual attacks was described as remarkable, as he posted a video of himself dancing to a song that reads "Go high when people go low." Ziiad has captioned the video: "No comment."
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