Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will meet with plenty of Hollywood heavy hitters next week — but protesters also hope to make a big impression.
One person familiar with the crown prince’s schedule told TheWrap he plans to dine at the home of producer Brian Grazer, whose credits include “A Beautiful Mind” and “Apollo 13.” Salman, also known as MbS, is also expected to meet with executives from Disney, Fox, Warner Bros. and other major studios, according to another person familiar with his plans.
“He’s meeting with every major studio,” the insider told TheWrap on condition of anonymity, saying of MbS’s team: “I wouldn’t put it past them to have actual ideas in mind for what they want to invest in.”
Activists will watch his every move. The feminist group Code Pink has assembled what it believes is his itinerary, and plans to protest a meeting Monday between MbS and Endeavor’s Ari Emmanuel. The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is closing in on a deal to buy a sizable stake in Endeavor.
“He pretends to be a reformer when he’s really a war criminal. There is nothing charming about this prince,” Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink, told TheWrap. She said it was disappointing that in the midst of the #MeToo movement, Hollywood would meet with a man who is part of “the world’s most misogynistic, patriarchal, and repressive regime.”
The crown prince has drawn international scrutiny to the oil-rich kingdom for mass arrests of 200 relatives in what he has billed as an anti-corruption sweep. He has also tried to modernize, including by finally allowing women in the country to drive.
Bin Salman has also sought to open up Saudi Arabia to new forms of industry — such as entertainment — instead of relying so heavily on oil, the major source of Saudi Arabian wealth.
MbS will also meet with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garretti.
“Mayor Garcetti is taking a meeting at the request of the Saudi prince as is customary when any high-ranking dignitary comes to visit,” a spokesman for the mayor’s office said.
The Hollywood Reporter said Friday that Rupert Murdoch is hosting a dinner for the prince at the 21st Century Fox co-executive chairman’s home in Bel Air on Monday. A spokesperson for 21st Century Fox declined to comment.
Meanwhile, The Independent released an itinerary that includes a meeting with Oprah Winfrey. Her team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.