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Instagram influencer sparks dangerous LGBT+ witch-hunt in Tunisia with anti-gay video rant

Instagram influencer sparks dangerous LGBT+ witch-hunt in Tunisia with anti-gay video rant

  • She says gay sex is ‘disgusting’ but later adds ‘I have lots of gay fans’.
Lady Samara

An Instagram beauty influencer has ranted against homosexuality as ‘perverted’, stirring up homophobia in Tunisia.

The post by @lady.samara has also inspired gossip sites to start outing LGBT+ people – exposing them to hatred and attack. Same-sex activity is illegal in Tunisia, so they may also face legal prosecution.

Lady Samara, who has 465,000 followers, went live on 7 September to share her opinions.

In her rant, she described homosexuality as ‘disgusting’ and said LGBT+ people are ‘perverts’ and ‘mentally sick’. 

She also claimed ‘gay people are trying to brainwash our children to become gay’. And she said foreign powers were paying LGBT+ campaigners to ‘corrupt our youth’.

She said (translated): ‘I do not respect homosexuality. This disgusting act [is something] I can’t stand seeing. 

‘I can’t see two men kissing. I can’t see two women having sex. 

‘I can’t change my opinion on this topic. As much as I try to avoid it, when someone brings it up, I catch fire.

‘I don’t want to hear the reasons: I’m young, I’m sick, they raped me.

‘The new generation is in grave danger because they see sassiness and homosexuality becoming normal.

‘Stop this phenomenon.’

Anxiety and fear

LGBT+ campaigners say her rant has sparked a ‘barrage of hate speech, homophobia and denigrating discourse targeting the LGBT community in Tunisia’.

Tunisian LGBT+ activist Ramy Ayari told GSN:

‘She has been urging homophobes to speak up and that this new wave of left-wing movements is dangerous.

‘Encouraged by her behavior, multiple gossip pages have been outing closeted individuals and stealing private images and stories from accounts of LGBTQ teenagers/young adults, outing them to the possibility of harassment, assault, and incarceration.

‘This movement of anti-LGBTQ bullying is causing major anxiety and fear among an already segregated portion of our society.’

This echoes the case of another Instagram influencer from nearby Morocco earlier this year.

Naofal Moussa, also known as Sofia Talouni, went on Instagram Live in April to attack LGBT+ people. She told her mostly female followers to use Grindr and other dating apps to spot and entrap gay and bi family members and neighbors. 

Her video sparked a major witch-hunt of LGBT+ people in the mostly Muslim country where homosexuality is illegal. It caused some to become homeless and led many to fear for their safety.

In turn, Facebook and Instagram suspended her accounts and she eventually apologized. However, LGBT+ Moroccans questioned whether her apology made sense.

‘A danger to society’

Likewise, in a new post, Lady Samara attempts to give ‘her side’ of the story.

In the video, she says: ‘I am neither for them nor against them. I am against homosexuality but not against humanity.

‘I don’t like the sexual act itself, not the person.’

Moreover, she defends herself by saying she has LGBT+ friends – despite not approving of their lives.

And she adds: ‘I have lots of gay fans who actually do love Lady Samara.’

Moreover, she challenges LGBT+ campaigners over the way they translated her remarks about Hitler.

They claim she said:

‘You only understand by Hitler’s logic you are the most evil species on earth [LGBT+ people]. He was right.’

However she now claims that LGBT+ people mistranslated that remark. Instead she says she was talking about the horoscope and said that Hitler was the ‘most evil Aries’ who ever existed and not that LGBT+ people are evil. 

Despite this, Ayari claims Lady Samara has made derogatory and homophobic comments in the past.

Now he is calling on Instagram to act:

‘We believe in Instagram’s mission to remain a safe platform where everyone, regardless of their sexuality, can rest assured that their dignity is respected.

‘We truly believe that @lady.samara is a danger to society. She has publicly demonstrated that she uses her power and influence in a way that is abusive and derogatory.’

GSN has contacted Instagram and is awaiting a response. We have also contacted Lady Samara for further comment.