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After making a debut in Saudi Arabia in April with The Greatest Royal Rumble, the WWE on Thursday said it had decided to stage a Crown Jewel pay-per-view TV event in Riyadh next month despite the ongoing Jamal Khashoggi scandal.
“Considering the heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the company faced a very difficult decision as it relates to its event scheduled for Nov. 2 in Riyadh,” WWE said in a statement that accompanied its latest financial results.
Following the murder of Saudi dissident Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, a number of major organizations and companies, including Viacom, CNN and Bloomberg, pulled out of an investment conference being held this week in Riyadh and have reconsidered their business plans in the kingdom.
“Similar to other U.S.-based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, the company has decided to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event,” the TV wrestling giant added.
Crown Jewel is the second event in a long-term deal between WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority. In April, The Greatest Royal Rumble was held in Jeddah and was viewed by 60,000 people.
WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon during an analyst call on Thursday said little about the decision to stage the Crown Jewel event.
“We’re not going to talk a lot about that. That’s a very sensitive subject these days, naturally. I think our statement says pretty much all we want to say about that today,” McMahon said.
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