John Oliver Takes WWE To The Woodshed Over Saudi Arabia Deal


Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver isn’t someone to mince words, and after the incident involving the alleged kidnapping and murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brought to light last week, the Crown Prince and the Saudi Government have found themselves in the eye of the storm. CNN also reported that most of the news outlets that agreed to cover a high-profile business conference in Saudi Arabia have pulled out following the revelation, and John Oliver, in the most recent episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight put WWE on blast for their hesitancy in doing the same.

As earlier reported, WWE released a statement to the media that they were monitoring the situation in Saudi Arabia before making a decision about WWE Crown Jewel, but reports have since emerged that the company has decided to go ahead with their original plans.

John Oliver, while discussing the Crown Prince’s PR push to attract businesses and change the world’s perception of Saudi Arabia, mentioned the working relationship between Saudi Arabia and the WWE.

“They held their first of many events there back in April”, Oliver stated before continuing, “And audiences around the world were treated to wall-to-wall propaganda about the new Saudi Arabia, including a video showing women happily driving, men dancing, and tourist destination beauty shots, as well as constant excited announcements throughout the broadcast.

“It seems that WWE is as overtly pro-Saudi Arabia as it is lately homoerotic, which is to say intensely.”


As of yesterday, WWE Crown Jewel was still reportedly on for November 2 in Saudi Arabia, but that isn’t stopping Senators from questioning WWE’s decision to continue on. Most recently, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) appeared on WCBS News Radio 820 and was asked about WWE still potentially running the event.

“All major private interests should review and relook their relationship with the Saudi Kingdom in light of its continuing pattern of abuse of civil rights and civil liberties, contempt for the rule of law, and bombing in Yemen using the United States military equipment and possible intelligence,” Blumenthal said. “I would hope that WWE will recognize on its own a conscience and conviction if there is proof that Saudi officials approved and ordered this kind of killing, and I would lean first on the United States government to do its duty so that it can lead private interests like WWE, and the first place to look is to the United States of America.”

As noted, as a part of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Saudi Vision 2030 plan, WWE agreed to hold multiple events in Saudi Arabia, including the upcoming WWE Crown Jewel event on November 2, which will air on the WWE Network. Although, events that have unfolded over the past week have now thrown those plans into jeopardy.

On October 2, Washington Post journalist and Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi disappeared from the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Intelligence reports have since indicated that Khashoggi was killed, in what was possibly a state-ordered kidnapping gone wrong. With Jamal being a United States resident, the incident has resulted in the Democrats and Republicans calling for investigation into the alleged murder, while the President of the United States himself has alluded to the possibility of the Saudi government being involved in Jamal’s reported assassination.

Other Senators have also given their thoughts on if WWE should still hold the upcoming November show in light of recent events. “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 [WWE Crown Jewel].” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told

Sen. Lindsey Graham responded, “there should be a pause,” when asked by IJR about WWE working with the kingdom.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) pointed to the connection Linda McMahon has in the president’s cabinet (Small Business Administrator) and felt President Donald Trump should possibly ask WWE to hold off on Crown Jewel.

“Private enterprise is private enterprise, different than a governmental entity,” Menendez said. “But because [Linda McMahon] 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.”

While WWE has remained tight-lipped about the situation, the organization released a statement earlier this week to the media regarding the status of WWE Crown Jewel, saying, “We are currently monitoring the situation.”

WWE had earlier visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with the Greatest Royal Rumble pay-per-view back in April.

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