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By Mike Johnson on 2018-10-12 15:25:00

Several United States Senators have gone on record as stating that World Wrestling Entertainment should re-address their business relationship with Saudi Arabia going forward in the wake of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In an article published by The Independent Journal Review about WWE's plans to run Crown Jewel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 11/2, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut (where WWE headquarters are located), commented, "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 [Crown Jewel]. 

Murphy stated the apparent murder of Khashoggi was “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.” 

Khashoggi, who was a resident of the United States but was in Turkey at the time of his apparent murder, entered a Saudi Arabian consulate to pick up paperwork that would allow him to re-marry and hasn't been seen since last week.  While the consulate has claimed Khashoggi left their property, there is no video proof that he ever exited the building.  Furthermore, his fiancee was waiting outside and Khashoggi never returned to her.  

The Washington Post has reported that Turkish officials have audio and video proof that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered, possibly during an attempt to kidnap him back to Saudi Arabia that went awry.    Khashoggi had written a number of pieces criticizing aspects of the Kingdom.  The investigation remains ongoing and has become a major hot button issue internationally over the last week.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina commented to IJR there "should be a pause” in WWE’s business relationship with Saudi Arabia while Senator Chris Coons of Delaware stated WWE should “be taking a hard look” at its relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Several other American companies who have events with ties to Saudi Arabia have canceled or postponed events, including Viacom and The New York Times, who have pulled out of a business conference in the country hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 initiative - the same Prince who was responsible for bringing WWE to Saudi Arabia.   With WWE receiving a huge payday from the Kingdom in exchange for running events there (which have including promotional videos touting how progressive the regime has become, including allowing women to drive), there is a spotlight on WWE to see how they will handle the 11/2 Crown Jewel event.

Complicating matters for WWE is that Vince McMahon's wife Linda McMahon, who has not had an active role in the company for years, is a member of President Donald Trump's Cabinet.

“Private enterprise is private enterprise, different than a governmental entity,” said Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey to IJR, “but because [Linda] 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.”

Crown Jewel is currently set for 11/2 at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia featuring The Undertaker & Kane vs. Shawn Michaels & Triple H, WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar, WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan and a tournament to crown the first World Cup winner with John Cena, Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle already announced.

WWE is in the midst of a ten year contract with The Saudi General Sports Authority to present live events in the Kingdom.  They have stated they are "monitoring the situation."

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