Hollywood: Say No To Saudi Blood Money

No Meeting or Dealing with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman when he visits LA.


To Disney chief Bob Iger, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer, and 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice:

If #MeToo and #HimToo mean anything, they can't mean that Hollywood takes money from Mohammed bin Salman, leader of one of the world's most misogynistic, patriarchal and repressive regimes.

Today the LA Times reported  that during his trip to the United States, that began on Monday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman will visit Los Angeles, where among other business leaders he and his entourage will not only meet major defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing, but also with executives at Disney and other entertainment leaders. 

We demand/call upon/urge Hollywood to refuse to meet with bin Salman, a mass murderer, war criminal and absolute dictator who is not only the de facto leader of one of the world's most repressive regimes  but has single-handedly led the charge in one of the most disastrous conflicts of the post-cold War era with his relentless war on the people of Yemen. 

Recent stories about Saudi women finally being allowed to drive and even attend sporting events might have the patina of a feel-good Hollywood screenplay, but the reality is that Saudi women, and men as well, remain deprived of almost every conceivable political and civil right. Even worse, bin Salman's war in Yemen, launched when he was Defense Minister, has killed  tens of thousands of civilians, caused the world's worst cholera outbreak  in decades, the worst humanitarian disaster  since World War II —worse even than  Syria, destroyed numerous irreplaceable world heritage sites, and has pushed the Middle East closer to disintegration than it's been since the first World War. 

Hundreds of thousands of desperately poor foreign workers who supply most of the Kingdom's menial labor and service jobs have even fewer rights, and suffer extreme abuse, including public beheadings and crucifixion. And despite pledges of pushing for religious reform, the Saudi government and wealthy elite remain the world's biggest backers of Islamic extremism globally.

Precisely how does this record square with the values espoused by the Walt Disney Company, MGM, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, and Hollywood more broadly? How can Hollywood justify meeting with, never mind doing deals with, a man who only a month ago was holding much of his countries wealthiest businessmen hostage, reportedly hanging them upside down and even torturing them to death, in what is easily history's most public and brazen shakedown — to the tune of over $100 billion that went straight into his pocket, which will no doubt go to fuel more war, religious extremism and repression?

We call on Hollywood to stand up for the values that were on display at the Oscars, say no to racism, sexism, extreme violence and repression, and refuse to meet or do business with bin Salman or any representative of the Saudi government until it ends its murderous war on Yemen and the innumerable other large-scale abuses of human rights and international law that have long defined business as usual in the Kingdom.

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Dorothy Reik
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