A popular TikTok influencer is facing jail time in Dubai after allegedly getting into an altercation with a car rental employee in the Middle Eastern country.
Houston-based creator Tierra Young Allen has been detained in Dubai since May for allegedly “screaming in public” after getting into a fender bender while on vacation, according to her mother Tina Baxter.
When it was time to return the car, 29-year-old Allen was reportedly told that she would only get her license and credit card back if she paid the company a large sum of money. It was not clear whether or not the car was visibly damaged.
“She found out she could only receive those items if she paid an undisclosed amount of money,” Baxter told local outlet Fox 26 Houston. “She dealt with a very aggressive individual, a young man there, who was screaming at her.”
Allen, whose TikTok page called the “Sassy Trucker” boasts over 183,500 followers, uses the platform to document her life as a traveling truck driver and car hauler.
According to her page, this was not her first to Dubai; she previously visited the country in November 2022.
“I was also told I might be the first female truck driver to ever drive a truck in Dubai,” Allen said in a clip. “To me, it’s amazing.”
In a statement to the Khaleej Times over the weekend, the Dubai police denied Allen’s claims and said that she was arrested for “slandering and defaming an employee amidst a dispute over car rental fees,” not just yelling in public.
Authorities there said Baxter’s claims “present a completely distorted picture of the case.”
Defamation, especially for women, is considered a highly punishable crime in Dubai and can carry a jail sentence of up to two years.
“It’s been very emotional. There are some days I stay up all night crying,” Baxter said of her daughter’s delayed return. “It’s very frightening. The longer she’s been there the more reality has started to kick in.”
Baxter reached out to the London-based nonprofit Detained in Dubai, which aids Americans in the UAE who run into legal trouble. The group then got in contact with Texas Senator Ted Cruz asking for help.
“We have spoken to the family of Tierra Young Allen and have contacted the Department of State about the case,” the Senator’s office said in a statement. “Sen. Cruz will continue to gather details and engage on this case until Ms. Allen is returned home to her family.”
Allen’s case is still ongoing.