Actor Gerard Butler canceled a trip to Saudi Arabia for a screening of his film “Hunter Killer” after the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
During an interview with CNN, Butler said “The timing couldn’t have been worse.” He added, “We heard about Khashoggi going missing the day before we were supposed to leave, two days before, but the next day was when we had to go and it just didn’t feel like a smart move. It felt very insensitive and it’s something that we shouldn’t really be getting involved with, so we thought we’re going to stay away from that.”
Butler was set to screen “Hunter Killer” in the country’s capital of Riyadh. The screening comes after Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year ban on movies in April when they screened “Black Panther.” The actor said that he “really wanted to go there” but said it didn’t “feel like the right move to make.”
Khashoggi, a frequent critic of the Saudi government, vanished last week in Istanbul, Turkey, after entering the Saudi consulate there. He was seen walking into the building, where he had gone to get papers needed for his upcoming marriage, but never was seen exiting.
The New York Times, citing an anonymous senior Turkish official, reported that the Saudi native was killed within a couple hours of entering the consulate by Saudi agents who dismembered his body, on order from the Saudi royal court.