DUBAI: On Monday, Dubai-based influencer Semia Azaiz, who goes by “The Trendy Frenchie” on Instagram, uploaded a series of videos on her account seemingly implying that her followers should go against the advice of health authorities regarding staying at home as much as possible in order to prevent the further spread of coronavirus, prompting several Twitter users to report the video by tagging the Dubai Police.
On Tuesday, Dubai Police announced that a member of the public had been arrested for "showing her indifference to the #StayHome national campaign."
"Dubai Police has arrested a European national of Arab origin for posting a video showing her indifference to the #StayHome national campaign and encouraging people to defy authorities' social distancing instructions. Legal measures were taken against her. The case has been referred to the Federal Public Prosecution for Information Technology Crimes. Dubai Police stresses the importance of residents fully complying with directives issued by authorities to safeguard public health," it tweeted on Tuesday evening.
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#repost @dubaimediaoffice ・・・ شرطة دبي تلقي القبض على شابة أوروبية من أصول عربية بثت مقطع فيديو يظهر عدم اكتراثها بمبادرة #خلك_في_البيت والتعليمات الصحية والأمنية الحالية، وتحولها إلى نيابة مكافحة جرائم تقنية المعلومات بالنيابة العامة الاتحادية. الشرطة تؤكد أهمية الالتزام بالتعليمات حفاظاً على السلامة العامة، وتحذر من مخالفتها. عقوبة الحبس وغرامة لا تقل عن 200 ألف درهم ولا تتجاوز مليون درهم، أو إحدى العقوبتين، لكل من دعا أو حرض بأي طريقة تقنية أو وسيلة معلوماتية لعدم الانقياد إلى القوانين والأنظمة المعمول بها في الدولة. . Dubai Police has arrested a European national of Arab origin for posting a video showing her indifference to the #StayHome national campaign and encouraging people to defy authorities' social distancing instructions. Legal measures were taken against her. The case has been referred to the Federal Public Prosecution for Information Technology Crimes. Dubai Police stresses the importance of residents fully complying with directives issued by authorities to safeguard public health. Inciting non-compliance with safety measures will lead to imprisonment and/or a fine of between AED200,000 and AED1 million.
In the video posted by the influencer, she seems to mock the measures.
“Finally, we’re going for a run,” said Azaiz who is seen outside with one of her friends. “I wanted to tell you that yesterday I went for a run with my friend and I was afraid to put up a video because two days ago when I was running and when I told people they should go out and do whatever they want, I have been attacked on social media, I was called irresponsible and crazy,” she continued.
“However, I’m doing small runs. I’m by myself or I bring a friend with me because I don’t want to make anyone unhappy and I don’t want to take any risks. But what I’m saying is you don’t have to take part in this campaign, staying at home,” she said.
“Do whatever you wanna do, no matter what’s out there. If you want to leave the house, go for a walk or go for a run, just do it. Stay positive and stop adding to this drama staying at home. Why are you staying at home?” she said to her 41,000 Instagram followers in the now-deleted videos, which have garnered immense backlash on social media since their upload — some users even reported the clips to Dubai Police.
Today, Reebok MENA released a statement saying that they are cutting ties with the influencer over her comments.
“Reebok MENA, in no way shape or form, endorses the activities of @the_trendy_frenchie and has immediately suspended all collaborations with her,” wrote the athletic label. “She previously attended a Reebok event in January and posted recently. Her comments are misleading and do not represent the core values or principles that the brand stands for. We encourage the entire community to stay at home and practice social distancing,” said the statement.
Azaiz’s comments came just after the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan, took to Instagram and Twitter to share a lengthy, heartfelt plea urging the residents of UAE to stay home amid the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
Meanwhile, on Monday night, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa lit up with the message “Stay Home... Stay Safe.”