Yemeni influencer dubbed ‘Timhouthi Chalamet’ urges focus on Gaza | The Express Tribune


Yemeni social media influencer Rashid Al Haddad, affectionately nicknamed “Timhouthi Chalamet” for his resemblance to Hollywood actor Timothée Chalamet, has redirected the attention of his followers from his viral looks to the ongoing Israeli brutality in Gaza. Al Haddad gained fame after sharing videos aboard hijacked container ships operated by Houthi pirates, shedding light on the chaos they have caused in the Red Sea.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter), the self-proclaimed “media personality, actor, and photographer” urged his tens of thousands of followers to prioritise the Palestinian cause over his own appearance. According to various media outlets, Al Haddad shared an X post where he emphasised, “I didn’t talk about beauty or anything else, but our cause is Palestine, and this is not the time to talk about beauty.”

Al Haddad set the record straight that Houthi pirates stand loud and defiant against Israel’s apartheid. “I hope that my message reaches you, a free Palestine, and we ignite it against the Israeli aggression that violates human rights,” the social media star addressed his followers.

The Yemeni influencer’s online presence has been marked by his posts aboard the Bahamian-flagged Galaxy Leader, a container ship hijacked by Houthi pirates on November 19. While the vessel’s 25 crew members remain captive, the rebels have allowed tour groups to explore the ship. Al Haddad’s videos depict the ship’s interior and other young men approaching it on a small wooden skiff.

Given the longstanding appeal of pirates, mostly via fiction, Al Haddad’s growing popularity is not the least bit surprising. However, many find this reception troubling. The X user who originally posted the viral video of the influencer-pirate penned a follow-up post, echoing Al Haddad’s sentiments.

“Stop sexualising the Houthis. What is wrong with you all?” read the post. “Our troops are protecting and defending the colonised masses from imperialist operations and everyone’s diverting that because they’re hot?”

The Yemeni influencer has been part of a broader online phenomenon documenting the Red Sea conflict, where Houthi pirates routinely share videos of their raids on the Telegram messaging app. Al Haddad, however, has not presented evidence of participating in the hijacking or shared footage from the event, raising questions about the authenticity of his involvement.

Despite not being directly involved in the hijacking, Al Haddad’s online presence aligns with a growing trend where influencers use social media to promote their perspectives on conflicts. His Instagram account boasts 27,000 followers, while on X, he commands an audience of 10,000. The influencer has also gained popularity on TikTok, with fans creating art and even setting up a fan account on X.

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