Hollywood stars attend Saudi Arabia film showcase year after Khashoggi killing

Telegraph 1 month ago

Hollywood and Bollywood stars raised eyebrows on Sunday by appearing in Saudi Arabia at a conference to promote the kingdom’s entertainment industry, almost exactly a year after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Jackie Chan, Jean-Claude van Damme and Aquaman star Jason Momoa took to the stage in Riyadh alongside Shah Rukh Khan, known in India as the King of Bollywood.

The four posed happily for photos inside the Ritz Carlton, host of the two-day Joy Forum, and van Damme playfully showed off a stunt kick aimed at Saudi director Abdulaziz Al-Muzaini.

The fees paid to the four were not disclosed, but Momoa is said to command $200,000 per appearance, according to The New York Post.

The paper reported that the organisers' original first choices - Will Smith and Russell Crowe - declined to attend.

Representatives of the four did not respond to requests for comment.

Khashoggi, one of the kingdom’s most prominent writers and critics, was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 last year.

In the interim many Hollywood figures have been wary about involvement with the country.

Actor Gerard Butler cancelled his trip to Saudi Arabia last year to promote his film Hunter Killer, over the killing of Khashoggi.

"The timing couldn't have been worse," he said.

"We heard about Khashoggi going missing the day before we were supposed to leave, two days before, but the next day was when we had to go and it just didn't feel like a smart move.

“It felt very insensitive and it's something that we shouldn't really be getting involved with, so we thought we're going to stay away from that.”

Jamal Khashoggi was murdered on October 2 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A UN investigator found that a 15-man hit squad travelled from Saudi for the assassination

In November film studio Legendary Entertainment, which is behind films such as Jurassic World and Interstaller, was forced to deny a report that it was considering accepting a $700 million investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF. Legendary said it had “no interest” in accepting the cash.

Furthermore a series of entertainment executives including STX CEO Robert Simonds, Viacom's Bob Bakish and others, pulled out of Saudi Arabia's flagship investor conference in October last year.

In March of this year Hollywood talent agency Endeavor handed back a $400 million investment from PIF because, The Hollywood Reporter said, of “the poor optics of a continued association with the Saudis”.

Their concern, however, has not stopped the Saudis from pushing ahead with their plans to present the kingdom as an attractive film destination.

Amr bin Ahmad Banaja, CEO of Joy Forum, said the country was “moving ahead with its efforts to build a competitive entertainment industry, bringing together local and international talent to create a first-rate regional entertainment industry hub.”

He added: "People used to travel and spend money outside Saudi Arabia for entertainment. We want to bring that back in to Saudi Arabia and create as many options as possible."

Source link
Read also:
Express › 1 month ago
A YEAR on from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, there are still questions left to be answered. What happened to Khashoggi?
Business Insider › Politics › 3 weeks ago
Key members of Donald Trump's inner circle will attend the Saudi economic forum known as "Davos in the Desert" one year after shunning it in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi's murder. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Trump's son-in-law Jared...
Business Insider › Politics › 2 weeks ago
Dozens of businesses and leading executives boycotted Saudi Arabia's annual investment conference last year, following the brutal murder of journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. Trump administration officials, Virgin Group, BlackRock...
ABC News › 1 month ago
Activists and friends of Jamal Khashoggi have gathered outside the Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul to remember the Saudi journalist on the anniversary of his horrifying killing by Saudi agents
Axios › Politics › 1 month ago
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) denied to CBS News' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that he ordered the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. But he said Khashoggi's killing had been a "mistake."Why it matters...
CNN › 1 month ago
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman denied having any personal involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi killing in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview that aired Sunday night.
The Sun › Politics › 1 month ago
A FREEBIE trip worth £20,000 from Saudi Arabia was given to a Labour MP — despite Jeremy Corbyn attacking the country for butchering a journalist. Frontbencher Imran Hussain visited Saudi following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Shadow justice...
Breitbart › Technology › 1 week ago
The CEO of ride-sharing company Uber has backtracked on his recent comments in which he referred to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia as a "serious mistake." Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is Uber's fifth-largest...
Reuters › 1 month ago
Saudi Arabia's crown prince said he bears responsibility for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year by Saudi operatives "because it happened under my watch," according to a PBS documentary to be broadcast next week.
Reuters › 1 month ago
Saudi Arabia's crown prince is trying to repair damage to his image done by Jamal Khashoggi's murder by insisting "layers and layers" of hierarchy separated him from the Saudi agents who killed the journalist, the U.N. investigator told Reuters.
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google