A TikToker from Texas is being held in Dubai and faces two years in prison for “screaming” at a rental vehicle agency employee.
Tierra Allen, also known as “Sassy Trucker” to her 182,800 followers, has been stuck in the tight country since police took away her passport, according to the charity group Detained in Dubai.
The Houston social media sensation, 29, alleges the yelling was caused by a verbal altercation between herself and the manager of a local vehicle rental store in April when she dropped in to pick up her personal items.
Allen’s credit cards, debit cards and cellphone had been impounded along with her rental car the day before the blowup, after she and her friend were involved in a minor traffic accident near the Arabian Gulf.
The manager allegedly demanded money in exchange for the possessions and reacted with hostility toward Allen.
“He followed me outside the office and I felt very intimidated. I told him to stop but instead, he called the police and opened a case against me, apparently for ‘screaming,’” Allen claims.
“I am in shock that he frightened me, I told him to stop, and now the police have said I can’t go home. I told them I had a medical emergency and needed to return to the US but they wouldn’t let me.”
Police confiscated Allen’s passport and said they have spent the last three months weighing whether or not to prosecute the influencer for shouting in public, which is considered an offensive behavior punishable by up to two years in prison, according to Detained in Dubai CEO Radha Stirling.
Though she has not been jailed, Allen is incapable of leaving the country.
But the nonprofit believes Allen was detained as part of a blackmail scheme run by the car rental agency — and that some local cops may be in on it.
“It is extremely common for rental car agencies to open cases against customers as a means to extort them. The hope is that whomever they perceive to be a ‘wealthy foreigner’ will offer them cash in order to drop the case,” Stirling said in a statement.
“Holidaymakers will pay extortionate amounts just to get home to their families and jobs even when they know they are being taken advantage of. Rental car agencies cash in on the insurance money and extort victims on top. It’s business for them.”
Allen may have been targeted because of her lavish personal belongings and freewheeling spending in the days before her arrest.
The social media star had been chronicling on YouTube her multiple beach trips, night club excursions and luxurious eating during her trip to the United Arab Emirates, which was expected to only last a month.
Allen, who had visited Dubai in the past, had been in the country to enjoy a vacation with friends but was also considering setting up a trucking business.
“I might be the first female truck driver to ever drive a semi truck in Dubai,” she said at the top of her video titled, “The Sassy Trucker Moved to Dubai?”
Allen gained her strong following for documenting her career as a female trucker, telling CNN in 2021 that she likes “to show that you can still be feminine in a male-dominated field.”
Her feminist initiative may have also landed her in trouble — Stirling believes authorities targeted her because she is black and a female.
Detained in Dubai and Allen’s family have been reaching out to federal Texas officials, to help facilitate her release without giving into the rental agency’s demands.
Stirling and Allen’s family are soliciting help from Texas lawmakers, including Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Sen. Ted Cruz.
“We have spoken to the family of Tierra Young Allen and have contacted the Department of State about the case,” Cruz’s office told Fox 26. “Sen. Cruz will continue to gather details and engage on this case until Ms. Allen is returned home to her family.”