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American comedian show cancelled in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A performance in Saudi Arabia by US stand-up comedian and actor Mike Epps has been cancelled, its organizers said, after complaints from Islamic hardliners. The show, scheduled for next week, was one of numerous events lined up to begin introducing entertainment to the conservative Islamic kingdom, where alcohol, cinemas and theatres are banned.

“Dear clients, we regret to inform you that the Mike Epps event has been cancelled”, the organizing company, Master Events, said on Twitter, promising a full refund.

Epps was to appear at Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University, a campus exclusively for women. “The show was cancelled by the university and not by us as organizers,” Master Events said. Twitter users had started a hashtag, “Hollywood at Noura University”, calling for the show’s cancellation because it would not fit with local traditions. Epps has featured in films including “The Hangover”, about the aftermath of a drunken bachelor party in Las Vegas.

The university has denied being behind the Epps show, saying a third party rented the conference hall and the event “was licensed by the concerned authorities”. Entertainment programs began in October when New York theatrical group iLuminate performed at the Princess Noura University. Hundreds of men and women, side-by-side, hooted their appreciation and clapped to the hip hop beat. The show was followed by WWE wrestling, which took place before a male-only crowd at a separate venue. Many Saudis spend their entertainment dollars in neighboring Bahrain and Dubai. – AFP

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