Mohammed Bin Salman, known as Prince Salman, is coming to Los Angeles next week for a series of meetings with politicians and other movers and shakers, including one with WME’s Ari Emanuel and producer Brian Grazer who are hosting a dinner for the Saudi dignitary in early April. But not everyone is happy about it and, in fact, there are planned protests to air grievances against the Prince, starting on Monday in front of WME’s Beverly Hills offices at 9601 Wilshire Blvd. The protest will come before Emanuel meets with the Crown Prince. WME and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia are closing in on a deal whereby the PIF will acquire a 5% to 10% stake in Endeavor (the holding company for WME) for roughly $400M.
On April 2nd at 11 AM, CodePink: Women for Peace will be out in force in front of the agency’s building. “We plan to protest in front of William Morris and say, ‘Wake up sleepy Hollywood, there is nothing charming about this Prince,’ ” said spokeswoman Jodie Evans, co-founder of CodePink. They want the Prince to stop the war in Yemen and lift both the humanitarian and commercial blockade.
The Prince will be coming from a meeting with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to talk about investment in Los Angeles, however, Garcetti told the CodePink organizers in a call that he has been clearly against the Yemen war and that he also thinks that women issues should be in the forefront and he plans to talk to the Prince about this.
“We had a very good call with Mayor Garcetti and he understands the issues,” Medea Benjamin, CodePink co-founder and author of a book on Saudia Arabia told Deadline. Given that, they have decided to start the protest — set initially against Garcetti — instead to WME.
But they aren’t stopping there. The following day at 11 AM, they plan to do the same in front of the RAND Corporation on Main Street in Santa Monica, CA.
The protesters said they will focus on bin Salman’s key role in the bombing of Yemen “which has created the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis.” They say they want the public to know that the Crown Prince is not truly a reformer who is fighting corruption and bringing a new age of enlightenment to the Kingdom.
“Mohammed Bin Salman employs an army of lobbyists and PR firms to sell himself as a reformer when he is really a war criminal and a power-hungry thug whose ego rivals that of Donald Trump,” said Benjamin. “It is absurd that the U.S. is in bed with this ‘prince’ who mercilessly bombs Yemen, shakes down Saudi businessmen, captured the Lebanese prime minister, concocted a rift with Qatar and even kidnapped his own mother. The Saudi monarchy also jails and beheads dissidents, discriminates against the Shia minority, and forces women to live under a repressive male guardianship system. It is not a regime the United States should be arming and abetting.”