Now U.S. senators are urging WWE to “pause” plans to go through the WWE Crown Jewel event on Nov. 2 in Saudi Arabia. Three U.S. senators are quoted in a news article published this afternoon by IJR.comregarding the situation.
“I’d hope that they would be rethinking their relationship with the kingdom especially with respect to events coming up in the next weeks like [WWE Crown Jewel],” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). He classified the apparent murder of U.S. resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi as “a brazen assault on the freedom of the press and a slap in the face to the United States, if this murder occurred as it seems it did.” Murphy is the senator representing Connecticut, the state where WWE is headquartered.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says “there should be a pause” in WWE’s business relationship with Saudi Arabia. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) said WWE should “be taking a hard look” at its relationship with Saudi Arabia moving forward.
Because Linda McMahon, the wife of Vince McMahon, is in President Trump’s cabinet, and to date Trump has defended the U.S.-Saudi relations continuing on as business as usual, with the “business” the countries do with one another being too lucrative to be threatened by a non-citizen perhaps being murdered, the situation may be politically more complicated. If WWE pauses its relationship with Saudi Arabia, does that look like Vince McMahon is making a decision that undercuts President Trump’s stance? Does it seem like it would put additional pressure on other businesses to also pause relations, with WWE part of a Domino effect?
“Private enterprise is private enterprise, different than a governmental entity,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) told IJR, “but because [Linda McMahon] is part of the president’s cabinet, it falls into the grey area where the administration really should give it some thought and maybe even prevail upon them not doing it.”
Already, several media entities and businessmen have withdrawn from events and projects in and with Saudi Arabia including Rich Branson, Steve Case, the New York Times, Bloomberg, and CNN.
TRUMP: "Again, this took place in Turkey, and to the best of our knowledge Khashoggi is not a US citizen, is that right? He's a permanent resident, okay… as to whether we should stop $110b from being spent in this country, that would not be acceptable to me." pic.twitter.com/6tlkJ5shbt
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 11, 2018
Now Bloomberg is pulling out of the Saudi investment conference: "Bloomberg will no longer serve as a media partner for the Future Investment Initiative. As we do with every major event in the region, we plan to cover any news from our regional news bureau."
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) October 12, 2018
New: CNN will no longer participate in the Saudi conference later this month, known as “Davos in the desert.” “CNN has withdrawn its participation in the Saudi Future Investment Initiative Conference,” CNN said in a statement. @CNNPR
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) October 12, 2018
I was looking forward to returning to Riyadh this month to speak at the Future Investment Initiative conference, and participate in a Red Sea Project meeting. In light of recent events, I have decided to put my plans on hold, pending further information regarding Jamal Khashoggi.
— Steve Case (@SteveCase) October 11, 2018
As the mystery of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi deepens, Virgin Group has suspended discussions with Saudi Arabia about a planned $1 billion investment in space ventures.https://t.co/GPDJiTPnVn
— Globalnews.ca (@globalnews) October 12, 2018
Should WWE reconsider promoting events in Saudi Arabia in light of recent headlines about the missing journalist and raised coverage in general of how the regime has been operating in recent times?
— Pro Wrestling Torch (@PWTorch) October 11, 2018
What's best for WWE business (regardless of what you think the "right" thing to do is) regarding its relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at this point.
— Pro Wrestling Torch (@PWTorch) October 12, 2018