During his 3-week tour in the US, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman [MBS] rubbed shoulders with a string of A-listers on his trip to Tinseltown.
MBS is in Los Angeles this week to meet with entertainment executives and schmooze with celebrities. It should surprise no one that media moguls are eager to meet with whom they presume is one of the most powerful men in the Middle East, regardless of his human rights record.
The Crown Prince had just received praise from one of the Hollywood's most important residents - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
The actor attended a private dinner with MBS this week at media mogul Rupert Murdoch's house. Others in attendance included Disney CEO Bob Iger, Morgan Freeman, James Cameron, and Universal film chairman Jeff Shell.
Johnson appeared to have had really enjoyed himself, so much so that he posted on Wednesday a lengthy message on his Instagram account.
"An historic night it was. A pleasure to have a private dinner with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, his royal family and distinguished cadre," he said.
Johnson praised the crown prince for his modernization efforts in the kingdom, and said that he would visit Saudi Arabia soon.
"His deep-rooted, yet modern views on the world and certainly the positive growth of his country," the Johnson wrote.
But MBS' newfound celebrity friend let something else slip: tequila was served, and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia would be getting more on a return leg to Riyadh.
The actor initially concluded his post by revealing his apparent popularity in Saudi Arabia and stating that he was looking forward "to my first visit soon to Saudi Arabia", when, he said, he would "be sure to bring my finest tequila to share with the Royal Highness and family".
However, Johnson edited his Instagram caption shortly after posting it, perhaps in response to criticism, and changed his offer to take tequila to Saudi Arabia to "Luckily, I brought my own tequila", in a possible attempt to dispel suspicions that bin Salman might have partaken during the evening.
His hasty editing left a sour taste in the mouths of many concerned with the party prince's proclivities. Alcohol is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia, and its possession punishable by hundreds of lashes.
Johnson's post on Facebook remained in its original form, though.
Social media users urged the A-lister to do a little research on the policy records of world leaders before they accept friendly dinner invitations from them.
Accordingly, observers and rights groups say Saudi Arabia still has a dire human rights record and is involved in a devastating conflict in Yemen. Not everyone saw Bin Salman's Hollywood tour kindly, as social media users notably blasted The Rock for cozying up to the royal.
Saudi policies, notably in Yemen, had been under fire. It has been leading an international coalition that has martyred thousands of civilians in Yemen for the past three years.
That coalition, with US support, has continuously bombarded the country with airstrikes mounting to war crimes. It's also imposed a blockade that has worsened Yemen's already precarious humanitarian situation.
Millions in Yemen are now facing hunger and disease. But wartime famine and cholera are not inevitable.
According to the UN's last report into violations against children, it named Saudi Arabia on the blacklist, only to be removed a few days later after pressure from Riyadh.
The report said that the Saudi-led alliance was accountable for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen in 2015 - a claim that Riyadh described as "wildly exaggerated".
Moreover, the execution rate in the Kingdom has doubled since MBS was appointed crown prince in 2017, according to rights group Reprieve.
Not to mention, Saudi Arabia has been using draconian terrorism legislation to target peaceful campaigners and pro-democracy bloggers.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team