Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Celeb sex tape scandal rocks web

INDONESIAN teen heart-throb Nazril Ariel and his model girlfriend Luna Maya expressed shock Monday over an X-rated video that has appeared on the Internet apparently showing them having sex.

The explicit but grainy video, which appears to have been shot by Ariel during the act, is one of two sexy celebrity clips doing the rounds of Indonesian cyberspace and fuelling calls for tighter controls of the Internet.

The other appears to show Ariel, the 28-year-old lead singer of a band called Peterpan, having intercourse with his ex-girlfriend, model Cut Tari.

In a joint interview with TVOne, Ariel and Maya said they were victims of defamation and urged fans not to jump to conclusions.

But they did not clearly deny it was them in the video.

"The thing is, this is not over yet. There is still an ongoing investigation process. It is not supposed to be exaggerated before there is confirmation," Ariel responded when asked if it was him in the clip.

An exhausted-looking Maya, 26, accused the media of exaggerating the story.

"What's clear is that we're not how people accuse us of being," she said when asked whether she stood by comments to police that the video was fake.

"It's shocked us. It never crossed my mind that this kind of thing will happen to us... This is defamation."

Police have questioned the three celebrities, who could each face 12 years in jail for producing or distributing pornography under a tough anti-porn law adopted in the mainly Muslim country in 2008.

In East Java on Monday police raided high schools and checked students' mobile phones to make sure they had not downloaded the videos.

"The operation has been conducted to keep the students away from the porn video as it would have a bad impact on them. Students are not supposed to watch that kind of video," local police spokeswoman Sri Sukorini told AFP.

It is not clear how the explicit videos were obtained or who uploaded them to the Internet, where they remain widely available.

The stars' corporate sponsors including Unilever and Sharp have dropped them from product promotions, while Maya no longer hosts a popular music television show.

The "Peterporn" scandal has again highlighted the gulf between liberal, urban Indonesians and those who hold more traditional values in a mainly Muslim country which has seen rapid modernisation over the past decade.

Critics said police should focus on serious crime such as corruption, and questioned why they were not cracking down on distributors of pirated, hardcore pornographic DVDs which are available across the country.

"These raids (on schools) are silly. The police are over-reacting... because even under the anti-porn bill ownership of a sex video is not forbidden," University of Indonesia communications analyst Ade Armando said.

Religious conservatives in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's cabinet have said "Peterporn" underscores the need for tighter controls of the Internet in the country of 240 million people.

Hardline Muslim vigilantes meanwhile accused the celebrities of "moral terrorism" and threatened to take matters into their own hands if they were not arrested within three days.

"If the police cannot arrest Ariel, Luna and Cut Tari within three days, we are going to raid places that sell porn videos in Jakarta," Habib Salim, head of the militant Islamic Defenders Front, told The Jakarta Globe website.

"Porn actors and actresses are another form of terrorism. This is moral terrorism. We have to save the citizens from any harm that will degrade our morality."