×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CNN, Financial Times, CNBC Withdraw From Saudi Conference Amid Journalist’s Disappearance

CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg and the Financial Times said they would no longer take part in a much-anticipated Saudi investment conference, the latest media organizations to withdraw from the event following the disappearance of dissident columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The AT&T-owned cable-news outlet and the financial newspaper, owned by Japan’s Nikkei, had been named as media partners of the Future Investment Initiative, along with Bloomberg, Fox Business Network, and Al Aribiya News Channel. The event is scheduled to take place in Riyadh between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25. “CNN has withdrawn its participation in the Saudi Future Investment Initiative Conference,” the network said in a statement.

Others quickly followed. NBCUniversal’s CNBC has pulled out of its media partnership with the conference, a spokesman said. “The Financial Times will not be partnering with the FII conference in Riyadh while the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi remains unexplained,” said Lionel Barber, the FT’s editor, in a statement. “Bloomberg will no longer serve as a media partner for the Future Investment Initiative. As we do with every major event in the region, we plan to cover any news from our regional news bureau,” the business-news provider said in a statement. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said Thursday he would no longer take part in the conference.

On Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for STX Entertainment said that Bob Simonds, CEO of the company, would no longer attend the conference.

Khashoggi has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish authorities have told reporters that Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by a state-sponsored hit squad.

The conference is hosted by the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. Dubbed “Davos in the Desert,” the conference was first held last year, and has been seen as an opportunity for the mideast nation to spotlight the modernization efforts of Crown Prince Mohammed.

Others have also withdrawn from the event, citing the Khashoggi matter as the deciding factor.

New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, who had been slated to moderate a panel that would have included Viacom’s Bakish, said on Twitter on Thursday that he was “terribly distressed” by Khashoggi’s disappearance. The New York Times was also slated to be a “media partner” of the event, but announced on Wednesday that it would withdraw from the event. Mellody Hobson, the president of Ariel Investments and a former chairman of Dreamworks Animation, resigned on Thursday from the conference advisory board. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, said on Thursday that he would not attend the conference.

CNN did not elaborate on its reasons for terminating its association with the event.

More Biz

  • Tencent Profits Hit $1 Billion Per

    Tencent Profits Hit $1 Billion per Month as Company Loses Fizz

    Growing regulatory encroachments into its games business, a smaller than expected spin-off for its music division, and a fourth quarter profits drop, pointed to a troubling year for Chinese tech giant Tencent. Its financial results for the full 2018 period, while delivering profits of nearly $1 billion a month, appeared to bear out that thesis. [...]

  • splice

    Splice Raises $57.5 Million in Latest Funding Round

    Splice, a favorite of music creators that allows access to a library of three million rights-cleared sounds, announced today that the company closed a Series C funding round at $57.5 million. That brings Splice’s total amount raised to roughly $102 million since its launch in 2013. It raised a Series B in November of 2017. [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    WGA Leaders to Meet With Showrunners on Agency Packaging Fight (EXCLUSIVE)

    WGA leaders are set to meet Wednesday night with a group of showrunners who are raising concerns about the guild’s handling of negotiations with talent agents over the issue of packaging fees and agency-affiliated productions. The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at WGA West headquarters. WGA West president David Goodman is expected to attend. [...]

  • Bill Murray St Vincent 2014

    Weinstein Co. Sued Over Trademark Infringement in Bill Murray Film

    A horse-racing announcer has sued the Weinstein Co., claiming that the company infringed on his trademarked phrase in a 2014 Bill Murray movie. Dave Johnson is the man behind “And down the stretch they come!,” which he began using while calling races in Illinois in the 1960s. The phrase took off when Johnson moved to [...]

  • HALLIE ANDERSON AND JESSICA PAGE Mom

    Mom + Pop Promotes Hallie Anderson and Jessica Page to Co-General Managers

    Mom + Pop Music has promoted Hallie Anderson to co-GM and head of marketing and Jessica Page to co-GM and head of digital, the company announced today. They had previously served as VP of marketing and VP of digital strategy, respectively. “Being able to promote, empower and support Hallie and Jess in their new positions [...]

  • Disney Fox Takeover Placeholder

    Disney, Fox Employees Grapple With Day One Transition on Two Hollywood Lots

    What kind of a boss will Disney be? That’s a question facing employees at 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, National Geographic Partners, FX Networks, and other assorted parts of Rupert Murdoch’s former media empire. Wednesday was their first full day as staffers of the Walt Disney Co. and the initial moves have done little to [...]

  • Jay Wilson Joins Mascot Label Group

    Jay Wilson Joins Mascot Label Group as VP of Publicity

    Jay Wilson has been named VP of publicity for Mascot Label Group, the company announced today. A veteran of Republic, Glassnote and Universal Records, In his new position Wilson will conceive and implement media strategies for the company and its roster of artists such as Beth Hart, James Morrison, P.O.D., Robert Randolph and the Family [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content