The WWE has received backlash after deciding to go forward with Crown Jewel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 2.
The backlash comes as the result of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who reportedly died in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
In an interview with Sky News, WWE Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon, spoke up about the company’s decision to go through with the pay-per-view:
“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 company stayed quiet about the event until their plans were set in stone. In the press release regarding their third quarter results, the WWE released the following statement:
“WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizable and dedicated fan base. 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.
“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. Full year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled.”
WWE‘s PR is on edge right now; however, tickets for the event sold out in just under three hours. Crown Jewel is the second pay-per-view the company has held in Saudi Arabia, after the Greatest Royal Rumble in April. WWE is currently under a ten-year contract with the nation; as a result, future relations between the two are unknown at this time.