This situation is a mess. If you haven’t heard, Turkish police are alleging that the Saudi government, possibly with the blessing of the Saudi prince, lured journalist Jamal Khashoggi to their consulate in Istanbul and murdered him. Khashoggi is a U.S. resident who lives in Virginia and writes for the Washington Post. He is also vocal critic of the Saudi government and of the prince. There’s been an outcry from citizens and politicians alike to stop doing business with the Saudis. Trump’s response:
We don’t like it, and we don’t like it even a little bit. But as to whether or not we should stop $110 billion from being spent in this country, knowing they have four or five alternatives, two of them very good alternatives, that would not be acceptable to me.
It’s… honest. But certainly fucked up and immoral. However this is not the place to get political, I’m sure you can find a forum for that literally anywhere else. What does this mean for Crown Jewel? There are rumblings that the show is in jeopardy. It’s already been moved from a 68,000 seat stadium to a 25,000 seat stadium. Nobody really knows what that means, but it’s usually not a positive sign.
Don’t misread me here: I’m not putting a professional wrestling event in front of someone’s life and the human rights violations of an entire government. But this is a WWE blog and, like it or not, this has become WWE news. WWE’s official statement on the matter is brief:
We are currently monitoring the situation.
Great. Now walk away and don’t look back. Cut your losses, make up some bullshit reason you had to cancel the show, and get the hell out of there. This is a company that fired Brad Maddox for saying “cocky pricks” at a house show. It’s a publicly traded company. Linda McMahon is a government official. Please, WWE, you do not want this controversy.
Look, if this show happens, I’m still going to watch it. But it would be upsetting for a multitude of reasons, not even including the issue of the women that has been discussed at length. First, if the Saudi government is guilty of this alleged crime, it’s unconscionable for WWE to continue to do business with them. The issue there is: if the crime was committed, and likely it was, can it ever be proven? Even if it can’t, it’s not a good look for WWE to continue to work with this regime. Sure, American standard is innocent until proven guilty, but it’s not convicting the Saudi government of a crime, it’s simply saying we don’t want to be associated with a government that is accused of things like this.
The second is a more selfish reason: I don’t want to see a company and a sport that I love take a huge hit in the public eye when they could have avoided it. If the event goes on and sparks a huge public backlash, I don’t want to have to make the decision of continuing to support them or not. I don’t want to see something I’m so passionate about make a terrible decision and take a huge hit. I’m hoping that they decide to pull out. I’m hoping against hope that this is all a big misunderstanding and the journalist is found safe somewhere. And I’m hoping that I don’t have to make a hard decision about WWE.