The men were visiting Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates to attend the annual Jenadrivah Heritage & Cultural Festival in Riyadh. They were apparently minding their own business when members of Saudi Arabia’s religious police entered the pavilion and forcibly removed them from the festival. Their offense? They were considered “too handsome” to stay for fear that women would find them irresistible, according to the Arabic-language newspaper Elaph.
“A festival official said the three Emiratis were taken out on the grounds they are too handsome and that the Commission [for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice] members feared female visitors could fall for them,” Elaph reported this week, as quoted on the website Arabian Business. The Emirati men were subsequently deported to Abu Dhabi. In Saudi Arabia women are largely prohibited from interacting with unrelated males.
After the incident, the U.A.E. released an official statement indicating that the religious police may have been on high alert because of the unplanned (and, we assume, unnerving) presence of an unnamed female artist, reported the Telegraph. It’s unclear whether the men were evicted in relation to that incident, however.