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CNN became the latest big league sponsor to pull out of the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Saudi Arabia later this month amid growing concerns about the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi last week.
“CNN has withdrawn its participation in the Saudi Future Investment Initiative Conference,” the network said in a terse statement on Twitter, which declined to get into specifics.
CNN has withdrawn its participation in the Saudi Future Investment Initiative Conference.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) October 12, 2018
The company joins both the New York Times and Economist as media partners who have dropped out of the event, often dubbed “the Davos of the Desert.” CNBC and Fox Business told TheWrap on Thursday that they were “monitoring” the situation.
Once seen as on the precipice of a bright new future, Saudi Arabia is now facing accusations from senior Turkish government officials that they lured Khashoggi into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and murdered him with a 15-man hit team which then dismembered his body with a bone saw, The New York Times reported. Khashoggi has been a longtime regime dissident and most recently a sharp critic of their ongoing war in Yemen.
The kingdom has denied the allegation, but the latest reporting from CNN suggests that Turkey has both audio and video evidence to corroborate the claims.
The kingdom’s reach into U.S. commercial life is extensive and the full ramifications of a broad-based boycott over Khashoggi may yet be on the horizon. Also yesterday, the WWE said they were “assessing” their partnership with the kingdom as well and it remains unclear what additional fallout remains in Hollywood.