American Porn Star’s Gleeful Depiction of Iran Distorts Regime’s Oppressive Nature

On February 7, Whitney Wright, an American porn star and Instagram influencer, shared a photograph of herself posing in front of the former United States Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Wright appeared standing next to a lowered American flag at her feet, with sunglasses pushed up to her head and a scarf loosely covering her hair, leaving most of it exposed.

The United States closed its embassy in Tehran after Iranians loyal to the new Islamist regime stormed it in 1979 and held 52 embassy staffers hostage for 444 days. Today, the U.S. only maintains a virtual Iran embassy.

In Tehran, the Iranian regime turned the U.S. Embassy into a “museum” run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Wright, a vocal critic of Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians, did not mention any of that history in her gleeful Instagram post. “I want you guys to see my literal ticket that I bought to enter the MUSEUM lol. Anyone can get one in Tehran! :),” she wrote.

In that same post, Wright also attacked Masih Alinejad, a prominent Iranian rights activist and journalist who lives in exile in the U.S., calling her a “CIA plant” and accusing her of being “literally paid to spread misinformation.”

Wright’s attack came after Alinejad criticized her posts from Tehran. Wright’s posts sparked outrage across social networks and news media among Iranian women’s rights activists in exile.

Wright said Instagram removed some of her posts following a backlash and protests by the Iranian public.

The specific post that outraged Alinejad and others featured Wright’s selfie in a loose hijab captioned:

“If you respect the law, you will be safe in Iran.”

That is false.

The statement undermines Iranian women’s decades-long fight for their rights and freedoms.

Last September, Iran adopted a new law called “Hijab and Chastity” — a step further in the already strict dress code for women and the penalty for violating it.

The new law equates wearing a loose hijab (just the way Wright was wearing her headscarf) with nudity. The punishment for such violations is up to 10 years in prison.

Even before these new restrictions were introduced in 2023, the Iranian regime’s morality police enforced the “proper hijab” mandate with brutality.

Mahsa Amini

Mahsa Amini

On September 15, 2022, Sanaz Bagheri, an Iranian rights activist and cartoonist, shared a digital cartoon on X depicting an unconscious young woman in a hospital with a dark figure over her bed pulling her hair. The caption read:

“22-year-old #MahsaAmini is in a coma in the hospital after being arrested by morality police for wearing an inappropriate hijab. This is the brutality of Islamic Republic!”

Mahsa Amini died in custody. According to media reports, she died from a beating at the hands of the morality police.

The Iranian regime denied those reports and jailed the two female journalists who investigated Amini’s death.

Some of Whitney Wright’s photos cheering up to the Iranian regime remain on Instagram with captions like “Tehran ~ a sweet glimpse” followed by the Iranian flag and a white heart emoji. In all those photos, she is wearing a green scarf that barely covers her hair.

Social media posts have highlighted the contrast of the regime’s treatment of Mahsa Amini and other Iranian women accused of improperly wearing a hijab, with its permission for Whitney Wright, a porn star, to enter the country.

Iran has shown no such tolerance to its own stars who are deemed to have violated Islamic norms.

For example, Iran banned Golshifteh Farahani, once a prominent star in Iran, from returning to the country for participating in a French video ad for the U.S. Academy Awards ceremony, in which she exposed her breasts, and for appearing nude in movies.

An “official of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic” told Farahani’s father in Tehran that “his daughter would be punished, and her breasts would be cut off and presented to him on a plate.”

Euronews reported that support for a porn star by individuals close to the Iranian government is not unprecedented.

Lebanese porn star Mia Khalifa also received Iranian backing for her anti-Israel stances, despite a ban visiting her home country.

Iran International, a Saudi Arabia-linked Persian language TV network headquartered in London, quoted Abdolreza Davari, a confidant of Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

“We stand by anyone who fights against Israel, even if that person is Mia Khalifa, a former porn star, who has now cleansed her record of [moral] corruption through her explicit support for the oppressed Palestinian people and her struggle against the crimes of the Zionists.”

Saeed Peyvandi, a sociologist and professor at France’s University of Lorraine, told IranWire, a news site based in London, that the Iranian government might have orchestrated Wright’s visit ahead of this year’s 45th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in an attempt to enhance the regime’s reputation abroad.

“By quietly allowing her visit despite knowledge of her background, the government appears to be attempting to project an image of openness and tolerance, challenging the narratives of internal dissenters about restrictions and repression in the Islamic Republic,” Peyvandi said.

On February 11 a march in Tehran in celebration of the Islamic Revolution’s 45th anniversary featured women without hijab, which observers said was part of the regime’s PR campaign.

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