Earlier this week, Saudi authorities in Riyadh arrested a number of individuals who work at a local men's hair salon after a photo of them cutting a woman's hair was circulated online.
The photo was followed by a video of a man who went on an angry and quite sexist Snapchat rant detailing how he spotted a woman getting serviced at the men's salon he goes to. Though he made no mention of the salon's name nor location, he did share details of the incident, saying:
"I was getting my hair done when I saw a woman getting a haircut in the chair right next to me. I looked at her and then at the barber who asked me 'what's wrong?'"
"So you're now driving and demanding bizarre things on Twitter and via hashtags but to come and get a haircut right next to me, no, that's just unacceptable," he exclaimed. The man went on to add that the barber told him this is a common occurrence, explaining that the salon frequently serves female clients.
The image and video sparked such intense backlash they eventually led authorities to launch a search for the salon workers. It took a few hours for the police to locate and identify the defendants, who were later investigated and referred to the country's public prosecution.
The men could now face jail sentences given that it's illegal for men's salons to offer services to women. It remains unclear whether the woman who appeared in the photo could face legal consequences.
The authorities' response was clear
This news angered many on Twitter who called on authorities to clarify whether they've allowed men's salons to serve women.
Authorities responded with the arrests and an announcement, clarifying that no order was issued to allow men's salons to welcome female clients.
The clarification did little to calm people down online as there are still many debating the matter. Some vehemently attacked men's salons who welcome women, explaining that their actions constitute a clear violation of the ultra-conservative kingdom's laws, values, and traditions.
Others thought people were making a big deal out of an issue that's simply a matter of personal freedom.
Many were relieved that authorities took action
"Good on them."
Others wanted the woman to be punished too
"Why did this girl go to them?! Doesn't she know the place is for men? She should be punished instead of these poor workers. Had they refused to give her a haircut she'd have caused them a problem."
Not everyone thought this was a big deal
"I think this is so normal and there's nothing that calls for these arrests. Doing something in public means it isn't suspicious."
Some shared this point of view
"This is funny, she's a client just like any other who walks into the salon. Why complicate things?"