US porn star sparks anger after Iran trip

US News

An American porn star has sparked anger after visiting Iran – despite the risks of being detained and sentenced to the death penalty.

Whitney Wright, 32, filmed herself in Tehran and visited the abandoned US embassy which has been turned into an anti-American museum.

In remarks made on social media, Wright, whose real name is Brittni Rayne Whittington, said she “HAD to visit” the embassy where Iranian students held staff members hostage for 444 days after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“I’m sharing exhibits from a museum that are never seen,” Wright, from Oklahoma, wrote on Instagram in a since-deleted post. “It’s not an endorsement of the government.”

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She filmed herself throughout the Iranian capital despite her work in pornography putting her at risk in theory to criminal charges that carry the death penalty.

Wright also posted several pictures of her visit, including one that showed her in a headscarf and conservative clothing – required by law in Iran – standing next to a lowered US flag at the former embassy.

Posting on her Instagram story on Monday, the adult actress said she doesn’t know “half of what is being said here, but I’m no longer in Iran, but elsewhere”.

More on Iran

Her visit comes in the wake of Iran imprisoning Nobel Peace Prize laureate and women’s rights activist Narges Mohammadi, as well as the country’s mandatory headscarf law and nationwide protests over the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini two years ago.

Entrance to the former US Embassy - now an anti-American museum - in Tehran, Iran. Pic: AP
Image:
The entrance to the former US embassy – now an anti-American museum – in Tehran. Pic: AP

Backlash to visit

Masih Alinejad, a US-based activist who faced assassination and kidnapping attempts by Iran, condemned Wright for making the trip and for alleged remarks where the actress said “if you respect the law, you will be safe in Iran”.

She wrote on X: “Iranian women don’t want to obey a discriminatory law. Rosa Parks stood up against racist laws in America and became a symbol of resistance.

“We the women of Iran want be like Rosa Parks and not Whitney Wright. And by the way, the true warmongers are the agents of the Islamic Republic who will execute you if you be true to yourself.”

Iranian actor Setareh Pesiani also said on Instagram: “You punish people of this country in various methods for removal of hijab but you allow a porn actress to come here for tourism!?”

Questions over visa

Under Iranian law, making pornography is illegal and can carry the death penalty.

Iran Human Rights reports that so far in 2024, some 74 people have been executed by the government.

US citizens also require a visa to visit the country, and it is unclear how the actress obtained one.

The semi-official Tasnim news agency, believed to be close to the Revolutionary Guard, quoted an anonymous official who claimed those who issued the visa were not “aware about the nature of her immoral job”.

Iran’s foreign affairs spokesman Nasser Kanani said during a weekly news conference: “Naturally, US citizens face no impediments in travelling to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iranian citizens are able to travel to the US.”

The US State Department, when asked about Wright’s trip, said it has warned Americans to avoid travelling to Iran and “exercise increased caution due to the risk of wrongful detention”.

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