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U.S. Porn Star’s Bizarre Trip to Iran Ignites Outrage

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

American porn star Whitney Wright has triggered an angry backlash by traveling to Iran amid the country’s brutal crackdown on women’s rights and freedoms.

Wright, who has expressed solidarity with Palestinians during Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, published images online from her time in Tehran which included a visit to the U.S. Embassy where workers were held hostage for over a year after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. She described it as a place she “HAD to visit,” according to the Associated Press.

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Wright apparently recorded herself in the country even though her porn career could have made her theoretically subject to capital punishment charges. The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted an anonymous official saying that Wright, an Oklahoma City-born U.S. citizen, had been granted a visa by the Iranian government which had not been “aware about the nature of her immoral job.”

Several images shared on her Instagram show a veiled Wright at the embassy—which is now run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a museum—including one of her next to a lowered American flag. Headscarves are mandatory in Iran, with activist Roya Heshmati lashed 74 times in January for refusing to comply with the law. “I’m sharing exhibits from a museum that are never seen,” Wright reportedly wrote of her museum trip. “It’s not an endorsement of the government.”

Civil unrest and large protests erupted across Iran in September 2022 following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who was arrested for not wearing the hijab correctly. She was in the custody of the country’s so-called “morality police” at the time of her death.

“You punish people of this country in various methods for removal of hijab but you allow a porn actress to come here for tourism!?” Iranian actress Setareh Pesiani wrote on Instagram in response to Wright’s visit.

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-American journalist and activist who has survived assassination and kidnapping attempts by Iran, similarly criticized Wright’s actions.

“Iranian women don’t want to obey a discriminatory law,” Alinejad wrote in an X post. “Rosa Parks stood up against racist laws in America and became a symbol of resistance. We the women of Iran want [to] be like Rosa Parks and not Whitney Wright.” She added that the “true warmongers are the agents of the Islamic Republic who will execute you if you be true to yourself.”

According to the AP, Wright has previously shared material online which supports armed militancy against Israel. Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has dramatically inflamed tensions between the U.S. and Iran, with various militant groups linked with Tehran now attacking American bases and troops across the Middle East.

President Joe Biden, while explicitly saying he does not seek a war with Iran, has nevertheless authorized military action—including scores of strikes across Iraq and Syria on Friday—against the militias and their facilities. The operations came as part of a retaliation for the deaths of three U.S. soldiers in a drone attack in Jordan late last month, with U.S. government officials saying that more retribution is on the way.

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