“Ahmad al-Khatib, chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority has been removed from his position,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) tweeted citing a royal decree, without giving a reason.
The pro-government Sabq news website said Khatib was dismissed over a controversial circus performance in Riyadh, which included women wearing “indecent clothes”.
A video circulating on social media appeared to show a female performer in a tight pink costume, drawing outrage from Saudi arch-conservatives.
Saudi officials did not respond to AFP’s requests for comment. Khatib’s sacking comes in the midst of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s far-reaching reforms that have ended decades-long bans on women driving, cinemas and mixed-gender concerts.
“Cynics who lightly dismiss the colossal challenges that (the prince) faces in his social reforms should view this video of young Saudi men passionately denouncing the presence of a Russian circus with women performers in their country,” tweeted Ali Shihabi, director of the pro-Saudi, Washington-based think tank, Arabia Foundation.
The video posted by Shihabi included a cutaway shot from the circus and monologues from several men who emphasised the need to uphold Islamic principles.
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