Mia Khalifa’s infamous hijab sex scene earned her worldwide fame, as well as a multitude of death threats from Muslims around the world who found it deeply offensive. She’s opened up about said scene in an interview with BBC HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur, in which she said she felt like she had no choice but to do the scene, even though she was opposed to it.
Speaking in the interview, she explained she knew that what she was doing was provocative. Mia said: “I verbatim told them, ‘You guys are going to get me killed.'” When asked why she didn’t just say no, she replied: “Intimidation – I was scared. I knew that if i said no, it would… you know, they’re not going to force you to do it, at that point that’s rape. No one is going to force you to have sex. But I was still scared…”
She continued: “I mean, I have you ever felt scared to… not scared, but nervous to speak up and say something at a restaurant when your food’s not right, and the waiter comes by and says, ‘How is everything?’ I was intimidated, I was nervous.”
After the scene gathered attention online, Mia was threatened by many religious groups after the film, including ISIS. She said that she was targeted by the group online, receiving threats of being beheaded as well as mocked-up images of her own execution. This led to her leaving the adult industry – however, she says she didn’t want those responsible to see that it had affected her.
The 26-year-old is currently in Copenhagen, in the midst of an exciting wedding weekend alongside her fiancé Robert Sandberg—a chef at the Michelin-starred Danish restaurant Kong Hans Kælder. Her pending nuptials notwithstanding, the social-media sensation—16.8 million Instagram followers and rising—is also basking in the glow of her recent interview with life coach Megan Abbott, which has generated over 1.1 million YouTube views.
In it, Khalifa was candid about both her experience in the adult industry—which lasted just three months and twelve scenes, earning her a grand total of $12,000 despite her status as the No. 1 star on Pornhub—as well as why she chose to leave at the height of her fame, and the stigma that’s followed her since.
She also discussed the ugly discrimination she faced as a Lebanese immigrant who came to America in 2001, and how her own insecurities led her to the world of porn. The interview has divided those in the adult industry, with some actresses supporting Khalifa for exposing just how poorly they’re paid and others branding her “ungrateful” for the level of celebrity she attained during her short time in porn. But Khalifa is adamant that she’s just telling her story—and finally taking control of it.