HBO host John Oliver called out WWE during a segment on Last Week Tonight about Saudi Arabia, its ties to the United States and the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
WWE has come under fire for planning to go forward with its Nov. 2 “Crown Jewel” show in Riyadh even as many other American companies have begun to distance themselves from the oppressive kingdom in the wake of Khashoggi’s disappearance. The issue is that WWE’s shows in Saudi Arabia are unlike any other foreign house show. They are, as Oliver notes, used to drum up positive publicity for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“[WWE] held their first of many events there back in April and audiences around the world were treated to wall-to-wall propaganda about the new Saudi Arabia, including a video showing women happily driving, men dancing and tourist destination beauty shots, as well as constant excited compliments throughout the broadcast,” Oliver said, before playing clips from the broadcast of the Greatest Royal Rumble in which WWE personnel marveled at Saudi Arabia.
“It seems the WWE is as overtly pro-Saudi Arabia as it is latently homoerotic, which is to say, intensely,” Oliver quipped.
Oliver also made a John Cena joke near the end of the segment, waving his hand in front of his face saying, “You don’t see these human rights abuses.”
WWE’s cooperation with the Saudis has not attracted much attention from the mainstream media as of yet, but perhaps Oliver’s segment will be the start of that.