Spain has launched an investigation into a high-profile TikTok influencer over comments about unprotected sex and consent.
Naim Darrechi, a 19-year-old singer with 26 million followers on the platform, caused outcry by implying he has deceived women before having unprotected sex.
Spanish authorities had urged prosecutors to investigate Darrechi under a new law against sexual abuse.
On Tuesday, government officials in the Balearic Islands confirmed they would “sue” the influencer over his comments.
Darrechi — who is one of the most followed influencers on TikTok in Spain — sparked anger during a video conversation with a YouTuber.
The 19-year-old said he finds it “difficult” to use protection during sex and therefore “never” uses one.
When none of his sexual partners became pregnant, Darrechi said he began thinking he “had a problem” and told women that he was “sterile”.
He later apologised for the remarks on Instagram, but the video has drawn strong criticism from many women in Spain, with some noting that he could be passing on sexually transmitted diseases.
Spain’s Equality Minister, Irene Montero, asked the Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate whether Darrechi’s comments were true and whether there were any victims of his “sexual deception”.
“Removing a condom or ejaculating inside someone without consent is now sexual abuse and the new law will recognise it as assault,” Montero tweeted.
“Bragging to 26 million followers about something like this reflects the urgency of putting consent at the centre,” she added.
The regional government in the Balearic Islands stated they were looking into reports that Darrechi had sexually abused “an undetermined number of women”.
In a statement, the authorities said they had also asked the influencer to close his social media accounts on TikTok and YouTube.
“[Darrechi] has put many women, presumably from the Balearic Islands, at risk in terms of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies,” they said.
“Given that the influencer is widespread with all women with whom he has had sexual intercourse, the Government considers that it has a duty to protect against sexual abuse and assault.”
Mercedes Garrido, the regional Equality Minister for the Balearic Islands, added on Twitter that the authorities did not tolerate “male chauvinism”.
“What he has to do is take responsibility for the consequences of his actions and apologise to all the victims and all the women he endangers with his attitude,” Garrido said.
“We will not allow anyone in our Islands to presume to have committed sexual abuse or to incite others to commit it,” added the regional government president, Francina Armengol.
“We complain. For women’s rights, for sexual freedom, for a land that says no to male chauvinism.”
In a statement on Instagram, Darrechi has apologised for his initial comments, saying they were “out of place” and “not right”.
Sometimes I say things and sometimes I exaggerate, but here it’s just crazy what I said, I wish it had been cut at the edit and no one would ever have heard it,” he added.
He has previously drawn criticism for denouncing abortion in a TikTok video in May.
Earlier this month, Spain’s government approved tougher legislation — known as the “Only yes means yes” law — that sets out offences related to sexual consent.
“Consent is recognised only when a person has freely demonstrated it through actions which, in the context of the circumstances of the case, clearly express the person’s will,” the bill states.
The law is due to be debated and voted on in Spain’s Parliament in September.
If convicted of sexual abuse, Darrechi could face a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison under the proposed bill.