YouTube star Adam Saleh on calling out racism and celebrating his Arab roots

Adam Saleh
Updated 12 October 2017
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YouTube star Adam Saleh on calling out racism and celebrating his Arab roots

LONDON: In one of his most popular vlogs, viewed 40 million times, YouTube personality Adam Saleh plays a prank on an unsuspecting relative. The post, entitled “Killer Clown Prank Gone Wrong!!!” shows Saleh dressing up in a blood-stained clown costume and recording his young niece’s reaction.
The 24-year-old TV personality, vlogger, actor and rapper, is best know for humorous videos like these, mixing skits, pranks, songs and stand-up, much of it focused on his experiences as an American Muslim living in the US.
What began as an antidote to teenage boredom in 2012 has since become a successful career. Today he has over 2 million subscribers to his YouTube channel as well as 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
Much of his audience, Saleh says, is Arab, but his humor has a universal appeal. “Initially, I did YouTube videos for fun, to make my family laugh, but then more people started watching and people recognized me as I walked in the street,” he said.
Building on his budding fanbase, Saleh decided to raise awareness of issues he felt were overlooked in the media. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat at his manager’s home in North London, Saleh, who is of Yemeni descent, described his early experiences of discrimination and bullying at schooI in New York, where, he said, racism was rife in lower-income neighborhoods.
Saleh comes from a close-knit family. “In the beginning, you know how Arab parents are, they said you should be a doctor, a lawyer, or a judge, because my grandpa was a judge but my parents ended up supporting me.”
Saleh’s aim, he has said, is to dispel misconceptions around his faith and many of his vlogs feature incidences highlighting issues surrounding racism. For each comedy, skit, or inspirational talk, “there’s always a theme, a lesson,” Saleh said. “No matter what country you’re from, we’re all one, we’re all human. Show love to one another.”
His career has not been without controversy. In a widely publicized incident in December last year, the YouTube star was removed from a Delta Airlines flight after passengers reportedly complained.
Saleh said he was speaking to his mother on the phone in Arabic and tweeted afterwards: “Yes, we’re pranksters and it sounds like the boy who cried wolf but today you can clearly see it’s as real as it gets.”
Last year, Saleh performed in 40 cities around the world and says he is keen to add destinations in Saudi Arabia, where he has a large following. “The Arabic will forever live with me,” he said. “I want people to be proud of where they’re from and never let anyone bring them down.”
Saleh spent two years studying law at NYU before quitting to appear on The Ellen Show. “I took the risk and did it. I have no regrets,” he said. “I love doing what I do, filming, making music, being out there doing what I do and making people smile.”
Always on camera in one medium or another, Saleh is shortly due to release one of his latest projects, a 14-track album filmed in Dubai, out on Oct. 29. After that, he’ll be doing a Netflix documentary in which he explores anti-Arab sentiment across America and selects six of his interviewees to travel with him to Egypt in an effort to tackle prejudice and change their views.
“The Arab culture is a beautiful culture and I always want to show it through my videos and vlogs,” he said.
A version of this article was originally published in Asharq Al-Awsat


Ministry of Media rejects UEFA’s ‘irresponsible accusations’ of BeoutQ being based in Saudi Arabia

Updated 23 June 2018
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Ministry of Media rejects UEFA’s ‘irresponsible accusations’ of BeoutQ being based in Saudi Arabia

  • The Ministry of Media said it understands that BeoutQ’s set top boxes are available in many places, including Qatar and Eastern Europe. Moreover, UEFA’s irresponsible statement is contrary to what is occurring in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • The Ministry of Media was informed that beIN Sports was the source of UEFA’s reckless allegation. beIN Sports is a subsidiary of the Al Jazeera Media Network (Al Jazeera). KSA banned Al Jazeera’s broadcasts in KSA, beginning in June 2017.

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Media says it has become aware of irresponsible accusations made in a UEFA press release regarding an entity known as BeoutQ. UEFA baselessly claims that BeoutQ “is based in Saudi Arabia.”

The Ministry of Media unequivocally rejects this claim. The Ministry of Media said it understands that BeoutQ’s set top boxes are available in many places, including Qatar and Eastern Europe. Moreover, UEFA’s irresponsible statement is contrary to what is occurring in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Through its Ministry of Commerce and Investment, KSA has relentlessly combatted BeoutQ’s activities within the country. For instance, the Ministry of Commerce has seized thousands of set-top boxes that would otherwise be used to violate intellectual property (IP) in KSA.

The Government of Saudi Arabia is and will remain devoted to protecting IP rights within the country. The Ministry of Media was informed that beIN Sports was the source of UEFA’s reckless allegation. beIN Sports is a subsidiary of the Al Jazeera Media Network (Al Jazeera). KSA banned Al Jazeera’s broadcasts in KSA, beginning in June 2017.

Al Jazeera is Qatar’s principal media arm for supporting terrorism and promoting instability in the region. Al Jazeera provides a media platform for terrorists to propagate their violent message. KSA has also banned broadcasts by beIN Sports in Saudi Arabia for the same reason.

Al Jazeera’s response to the ban was to escalate its campaign of defamation against KSA. While beIN Sports’s broadcasts, too, have long been used as vehicles for offensive anti-Saudi invective, beIN Sports has amplified its offensive propaganda during the World Cup 2018 — which is ironic because the World Cup is supposed to be a demonstration of how football can bring nations together in harmony.

During the World Cup, beIN has defamed the Saudi Football Federation, insulted Saudi Arabia and its fans and has politicized the World Cup platform in violation of all rules and codes of conduct. For these reasons Al Jazeera and its subsidiary beIN, will never broadcast in Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry of Media accordingly urges that responsible news organizations view the reckless press release by UEFA, as well as beIN Sports’ other unsubstantiated allegations, with suspicion.