The holding company that includes one of the world’s pre-eminent talent agencies, William Morris Endeavor, has been working for more than a week to determine how it might sever ties with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, sources say.
The sovereign-wealth fund acquired a less than 5% stake in Endeavor earlier this year, sources say.
Hollywood has been under mounting criticism of its embrace of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon, who in April was the guest of honor at private dinner parties at Rupert Murdoch’s vineyard in Bel Air, and whose guests included Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. studio chief Kevin Tsujihara and actors Morgan Freeman and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and at the Santa Monica home of producer Brian Grazer.
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The disappearance of the Saudi dissident has cast a different light on bin Salmon, whom press reports last spring dubbed “Prince Charming.”
Turkish government officials have said a team of Saudi agents killed and dismembered Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Saudi officials have dismissed allegations that it played any role in the disappearance of the Washington Post writer, who was a critic of Saudi crown prince.
President Trump raised the possibility today that “rogue killers” were behind the Saudi journalist’s disappearance, not the kingdom’s leaders.
Earlier in the day, Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel told the delegates at Mipcom that he is “personally really concerned” about the situation, adding he couldn’t say more for “legal reasons.”
A spokesperson declined further to comment.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund acquired a minority stake in Penske Media Corp., parent of Deadline, for more than $200 million.
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