Saudi entertainment chief sacked after conservative backlash

June 19, 2018 - 4:48 am

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi King Salman has sacked the head of the country's entertainment authority after religiously conservative citizens took to social media to denounce a Russian circus show that showed female performers in tightly-fitted attire.

The king sacked Ahmed al-Khatib as head of the General Entertainment Authority late Monday. Semi-official newspaper Sabq reported Tuesday he was fired because of public backlash over the Russian circus, which was performed in the capital, Riyadh.

Earlier this year, Saudi sports officials apologized after images of scantily clad women appeared on big screens during a WWE wrestling event, which hosted women and children in the audience for the first time.

The incidents reflect some of the challenges the Saudi leadership faces as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pushes reforms to increase spending and curtail conservative influence.

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