WWE event in Saudi Arabia to go on as scheduled

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NEW YORK – MARCH 18: The World Wrestling Entertainment logo hangs on a wall at a media conference announcing the all-star lineup of WWE WrestleMania XIX at ESPN Zone in Times Square March 18, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

WWE announced Thursday its Crown Jewel event set for November 2 in Saudi Arabia will go on as scheduled, despite Saudi officials confirming a journalist was killed in Turkey’s Saudi consulate.

The announcement came as part of the wrestling organization’s quarterly earnings report.

“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.” 

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was critical of the crown prince, was killed Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by Saudi agents, including reportedly a member of the crown prince’s entourage on trips abroad.

A handful of wrestlers are backing out of the event, but Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, who wrestles under the name “Kane,” said earlier this month he still plans to attend the event. WWE previously announced it would donate $100,000 to the Knoxville Public Safety Foundation at an event early next year in Knoxville in exchange for Jacobs appearing at some of its events.

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