His money’s all over showbiz, but his check’s no good in Gotham.
Billionaire Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, whose entertainment investments include stakes in AOL Time Warner, News Corp., Disneyland Paris and the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain, last week offered up $10 million to aid relief efforts in New York City.
But Gotham mayor Rudy Giuliani rejected the check when a statement by the prince — distributed after he visited ground zero of the World Trade Center clean-up — suggested that U.S. policies were partially responsible for the attacks.
The statement by Alwaleed, whose showbiz ties also include a joint venture with pop star Michael Jackson and majority stake in Landmark Entertainment Group (designers of the Terminator II 3D ride at Universal Studios Florida) said, “I believe the government of the United States should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause.”
Giuliani rejected any such linkage.
“There is no moral equivalent for this attack,” he said at a press conference later in the day. “The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification when they slaughtered 5,000, 6,000 innocent people. … Not only are those statements wrong, they’re part of the problem.”
A day later, Alwaleed refused to back down from his statement, saying his position had been misinterpreted.