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Ari Emanuel speaks onstage during the 2017 LACMA Art + Film Gala Honoring Mark Bradford and George Lucas presented by Gucci at LACMA on November 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Making good on a pledge to sever ties with Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Endeavor talent agency on Friday returned a $400 million investment from the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund.
first reported by The New York Times, comes six months after Khashoggi’s death. Endeavor, helmed by Ari Emanuel, announced back in October that it would be extricating itself from a deal with the Saudi government following pressure from Hollywood to stand against the kingdom.
The multimillion dollar deal would have allowed the Saudi government to back entertainment projects at home and abroad and take a 5 to 10 percent stake in Endeavor, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Last year, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, toured America meeting with Hollywood executives, celebrities and producers. The crown prince wanted to become less reliant on oil as the driving force of his kingdom’s economy and to bolster Saudi Arabia’s budding entertainment industry.
However, Khashoggi’s death led to a chorus of international outcry and caused a number of business leaders in the entertainment, tech and transportation industries to suspend talks or sever ties.
Virgin Group’s Richard Branson ceased talks about potential investments in his space-travel business, and private-equity firm Blackstone Group, Uber and Goldman Sachs all cancelled plans to attend a major investment conference in the Saudi capital.