The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a political hot seat right now and, given that, some fans are questioning the wisdom of WWE pushing through with the Crown Jewel pay-per-view.
WWE Crown Jewel is set to take place on November 2, at King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Given the political climate in Saudi Arabia, however, there is some consternation that pushing through with the pay-per-view might be the wrong thing to do.
The Saudi government is being accused of being behind the disappearance of US-based, Saudi-born, Washington Post Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. Back in October 2, Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He had needed to obtain a document to get married. He had been accompanied by his fiancée but she had waited outside. When he didn’t come out even as the consulate closed, she reported him missing.
According to the Saudi’s, Khashoggi had left the consulate via a back entrance, but the Turkish government says he was kept at the consulate. Turkish police believe he was tortured and killed inside the consulate.
US politicians and even the president have expressed concern over Khashoggi’s fate. Many are even calling for a boycott of the country.
Many WWE fans are also concerned and think that the WWE should boycott Saudi Arabia and cancel Crown Jewel:
Senator Chris Murphy of CT (home of WWE HQs) says if the Turkish allegation of murder is true, “it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia.” This could end up being troublesome for WWE's event deal with Saudi Arabia. https://t.co/nkUKoZDqMs
— Wade Keller (@thewadekeller) October 10, 2018
Everyone: "So, I guess all those puff pieces reporters wrote about Mohammad bin Salman were a bad idea considering the whole 'he had a journalist brutally murdered' thing, huh?"@TripleH: "Hold my Steveweiser." https://t.co/we6iZYoCqb
— Nima Shirazi (@WideAsleepNima) October 11, 2018
There’s also a whole thread on the matter on “r/squaredcircle”
Crown Jewel is the second event that the WWE has agreed to hold in Saudi Arabia this year, the first being the Greatest Royal Rumble. It is part of a long-term deal that the WWE signed with the Saudi General Sports Authority.
The deal with the Saudi’s has come under fire before. During the Greatest Royal Rumble, no women wrestlers were allowed to participate, mostly due to the country’s laws about “decency” and women’s rights.
Many also criticized the WWE for being able to “tolerate” the Kingdom’s bad human rights record and harsh stance against the LGBTQ community in exchange for a big pay date.
As to how WWE will eventually respond to this current crisis in Saudi, they only released a brief statement in response to questions from media outlets: “We are currently monitoring the situation.”
While this may not exactly reflect what the WWE think about the situation, releasing an official statement on the issue is still a notable update.