Truth or fiction: man ‘too handsome’ for Saudi Arabia
CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, May 28, 2013 6:32PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 28, 2013 7:20PM PDT
You may not recognize Omar Borkan Al Gala by name, but chances are good you’ve heard his story. The 23-year-old model, currently residing in Vancouver, was reportedly kicked out of Saudi Arabia for being “too handsome.”
But if you’re looking to confirm the sensational rumours, don’t ask him.
CTV News and E-Talk spoke with Al Gala Tuesday afternoon to ask him about the unconfirmed reports that have turned him into an Internet celebrity, but he wasn’t eager to comment.
“Whatever happened in Saudi is gonna stay in Saudi. It’s just not the right time to talk about it,” he said.
Reports from across North America and Europe suggest Al Gala was among three men who were thrown out of a Saudi Arabian cultural festival because authorities were worried women wouldn’t be able to control themselves in their presence.
Other sources go further, claiming the three men were actually deported from the country altogether.
But there has been little confirmation on the story, and some argue the accounts of what happened are pure fiction: that nobody was deported, or even ejected from the festival.
One report suggests a man was dancing inappropriately in the fesival’s family area, but authorities merely asked him to knock it off.
Al Gala declined the opportunity to set the record straight Tuesday, but said all will be revealed in an upcoming film project.
“I’m working on a 20-minute short movie to put my story altogether, and just to present it to the people who [are] following [me],” he said.
In the meantime, Al Gala is enjoying his online fame. His Facebook fan circle has shot up to more than 993,000 people, and he’s received marriage proposals and even comparisons to Jesus – all for a rumour he insists he had no part in.
“I didn’t go and claim it,” Al Gala said. “I’m not saying it’s not true, I’m not saying it’s true. It’s coming.”
E-Talk’s Lainey Lui said the model is clearly media savvy, and whether his story is true or not he’s making the most of this 15 minutes of fame.
“He already understands how to promote and market,” she said. “He has a film coming out where he’ll tell everyone what the answer is. That’s a very savvy way of selling a story.”
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Shannon Paterson