Professional wrestling body WWE has defended its controversial decision to hold an event in Saudi Arabia despite the recent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

WWE defends incredibly tough decision  to go to Saudi arabia

 WWE announced earlier this week that it would go ahead with its Crown Jewel event on 2 November at King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, despite pleas from fans and critics for the company to boycott the kingdom.

 The news comes just weeks after Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi government critic who lived in the US, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

 The Saudi government offered various explanations for his death and denied knowledge of his whereabouts for nearly three weeks, before the country’s attorney general admitted on Thursday that his killing had been “premeditated”.

 In response, many top western officials have boycotted events being held in the country. While the entertainment company has received backlash from fans and professionals alike, it has defended its decision in a statement released on its website. 

“WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizeable and dedicated fan base,” the company said.

“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 November 2 in Riyadh.”

 ESPN’s Dan Le Batard criticised WWE’s decision for taking Saudi Arabia’s “blood money”.

 “Did you see that WWE is still going to Saudi Arabia? What a bad decision that is.

But, it’s the sewer and the sewer is going to behave like the sewer,” he said.

 Mr Le Batard attributed WWE’s decision to monetary gain.

 “There’s a lot of money in Saudi Arabia, so much money, so wrestling is going back to Saudi Arabia as we wonder whether Saudi Arabia kills journalists with bone saws.

 “We’re usually not quite that overt like, ‘Yeah, we’ll take your money, your blood money, no matter what.’”

 Some of WWE’s biggest stars, including John Cena, are reportedly refusing to work at the Saudi show. 

Last week, WWE’s chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon said the decision to go ahead with the Crown Jewel had been a difficult one to make.

 She said: “Moving forward with Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia was an incredibly tough decision, given that heinous act.

 “But, at the end of the day, it is a business decision and, like a lot of other American companies, we decided that we’re going to move forward with the event and deliver Crown Jewel for all of our fans in Saudi Arabia and around the world.”

 The move is already earning backlash on social media, with Twitter users accusing the company of being “tone-deaf”, while some said they have cancelled their subscriptions in a bid to boycott the company.

 One Twitter user cited the decision as his reason for unsubscribing: WWE held its first live events in the oil-rich kingdom in 2014.

The November event will see famous wrestling stars return to the ring such as Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and his onscreen brother Kane.

 Tickets for the event reportedly sold out in less than three hours, with the venue having a capacity of approximately 25,000.

Post a Comment

Your opinion counts alot, please drop your comment in the comment box below. Click Share to also get other people's opinion about this post. Thanks!