Controversial TikTok Video Shows U.S. Soldiers Asking Syrian Locals About Porn Star Mia Khalifa

A viral TikTok video shows American soldiers asking Syrian locals if they've watched former porn star Mia Khalifa's videos. The clip has since drawn criticism from people on Twitter, who are calling it "embarrassing."

In the very short video, originally posted by TikTokker Richard Wolfgang, a group of American soldiers are speaking to a small group of Syrian people. It's hard to hear what the soldiers and locals say, mostly due to the wind that's blowing into the microphone. Wolfgang added captions to help viewers better understand the exchange. "We asked them if they watch Mia Khalifa," reads a caption at the beginning of the video.

As the civilians give him a blank stare, another caption appears, reading "They didn't understand." Another soldier then chimes in to explain. "She's a girl," he says, as another caption says that the Syrian people were "still confused." Someone else asks again: "You know Mia Khalifa?"

One man started responding in his native language, which prompts a dismissive caption that reads, "Should've studied more arabic [sic]."

The video has since been deleted from Wolfgang's TikTok account but it has been shared on Twitter, where it's received over 500,000 views.

It's worth noting that Khalifa has been retired from porn since 2015, and only worked in the industry for three months, after starting in October 2014. She is now a social media personality and YouTuber. Despite making that pivot years ago, she has remained one of the most popular performers on sites like PornHub and XHamster. She's also originally from Beirut, Lebanon, not Syria.

On Twitter, people have criticized the troops in the video for engaging in the conversation, saying it was embarrassing and disrespectful. Author Ward Carroll sarcastically wrote "Good job, Army," saying that the soldiers "treat the locals like they're idiots because they're not porn-literate."

Someone claiming to be Wolfgang chimed in to reply to critical Twitter users, and said that the video is being taken out of context. He wrote that they were "joking and having a good conversation in topics [they] could all relate to." In another tweet, he wrote that the video was from a year ago, and he's since been discharged.

Other people on Twitter called them out for trivializing Khalifa's brief experience in porn, saying that it was troubling that the soldiers were joking about the star given the history of sexual abuse committed by soldiers in the countries they're deployed to.

Wolfgang has over 700,000 followers on TikTok. Many of his videos on the platform include content from when he was deployed and jokes about his time in the army.

Newsweek reached out to Wolfgang on Instagram for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication. A contact for Mia Khalifa did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

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In this photo illustration, the TikTok app is displayed on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. In a new viral TikTok, a video of U.S. soldiers asking Syrian locals about porn star Mia Khalifa has drawn criticism on Twitter. Getty/Drew Angerer
Controversial TikTok Video Shows U.S. Soldiers Asking Syrian Locals About Porn Star Mia Khalifa | Culture