Why WWE should do the right thing and cancel Crown JewelOctober 20, 2018
WWE needs transparency in its relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
That was evident from the moment the partnership was announced.
The new issue is the recent human rights violation that occurred in Turkey—where the Saudi government allegedly ordered and carried out the murder of a prominent Saudi journalist, Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who had been critical of the regime.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, multiple members of the WWE talent roster have expressed discomfort with the idea of performing in Saudi Arabia, especially given the nation’s poor record with human rights.
“As always, we maintain an open line of communication with our performers as we continue to monitor the situation,” WWE said in a statement to the New York Post after this piece was published.
He appeared earnest in his pursuit of Western entertainment, and sold potential business partners on a vision of a progressive Saudi Arabia, while taking modest steps—such as allowing women the right to drive—to give them reason to believe he was sincere.
WWE is far from alone in its business endeavors with Saudi Arabia.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson was another significant partner with a space tourism venture, but he halted his $1 billion investment project with Saudi Arabia following the news of Khashoggi’s disappearance.
So while it is reasonable to see why WWE involved itself with Saudi Arabia, taking the appropriate action in the wake of this week’s news and backing out of the deal would hardly be unprecedented.
By exiting its deal with the Saudi government, WWE can boldly state that it followed its moral compass, sacrificing significant money in the decision.
TMZ caught up with the SmackDown Live superstar, and he believes canceling the trip would be the wrong move. According to the “Viper,” keeping the event as scheduled will only help cultural progression in Saudi Arabia. “I think we should go. I think the only way to help with change over there is to go and not to cancel the trip,” Orton said. “That’s the goal is to make things better everywhere and I think us not going d…