Saudi arrests man over breakfast video with woman

Riyadh (AFP) –


Saudi authorities have arrested a foreign hotel worker who appeared in an "offensive" video eating breakfast with a female colleague, the labour ministry said Sunday.

The footage, which sparked outrage on social media in the ultra-conservative kingdom, showed the pair sharing a meal at a desk.

The woman, dressed in a full-length abaya and niqab veil, is seen waving to the camera and feeding the man -- who was filming -- with her hand.

"The labour ministry arrested an expatriate in Jeddah after he appeared in an offensive video," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the pair's employer was summoned.

Local media has identified the man as an Egyptian national.

The public prosecution urged residents in the kingdom to respect "values and traditions of Saudi society".

The incident comes in the midst of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's far-reaching reforms that have ended decades-long bans on women driving and cinemas.

The kingdom still has some of the world's toughest restrictions on women, including a guardianship system, and imposes a strict segregation of the sexes.

In April, Saudi sports authorities shut down a female fitness centre in Riyadh over a contentious promotional video that appeared to show a woman in tight gym clothes.

Later in June, Saudi Arabia sacked the head of its entertainment authority, following an online backlash against a circus featuring women wearing skintight leotards.