A Saudi female TV presenter has reportedly fled the country after her "indecent" clothing while reporting about the ban lifted on women driving in the kingdom sparked outrage. The presenter, identified as Shireen Al-Rifaie, has gone into hiding after authorities launched a probe.
Shireen, who works at Dubai-based Al Aan TV, wore an abaya – a loose-fitting, full-length robe – and trousers. While reporting about Saudi Arabia lifting the ban on women driving, a strong gust of wind lifted her abaya, revealing her clothes underneath.
The clip went viral on social media with "naked_woman_driver_in_Riyadh" trend in Arabic. It also created controversy following which the General Authority for Audiovisual Media on Tuesday said they had referred Shireen to investigators.
However, Shireen refuted the accusations, saying she was wearing decent clothes while reporting. According to news website Ajel, the TV presenter fled the country soon after the controversy broke out.
I was wearing decent clothes, and God will reveal the truth of what has been said about me," she told the news website.
Though she was wearing an abaya, Shireen also been accused of wearing indecent clothes and going against regulations. Furthermore, she was also criticised for revealing her hairline, as visible in the video despite wearing a headscarf.
For decades, authorities have enforced a strict dress code for women which requires them to wear abayas and cover their hair with a headscarf.
Meanwhile, this is the second incident this month that sparked controversy over a woman's clothing. Earlier, a chief of Saudi Arabia's entertainment authority was fired over a circus showing women in skintight leotards which received severe flak.
These controversies happened just three months after the young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that women need not necessarily wear abayas.
"The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia [Islamic law]: that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men," he told CBS TV.
"This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or black head cover. The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear," he added.