National Press Club calls on PR firms to reject LIV Golf ‘blood money’

The organization appealed to former journalists at PR firms to not represent the Saudi-backed golf tournament.

Event images from the Bedminster stop of the LIV Golf tour.
Bernd Wiesberger putts on day three of the LIV Golf event at Bedminister in New Jersey. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

WASHINGTON: The National Press Club has urged PR firms to reject the “blood money” LIV Golf could offer to represent the Saudi-backed tour.

In a statement on Monday, presidents Jen Judson and Gil Klein said that LIV is seeking representation for its Saudi-backed Golf Invitational Series. They said firms should avoid damaging their reputation by working on the tournament, which some have called another instance of Saudi sportswashing.

“We understand that clients need representation, but it seems reasonable to draw the line at clients that use a bone saw on a journalist,” the statement said.

In 2018, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The U.S. intelligence community has said Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the murder.

The statement pointed out that many firms hire former journalists.

It also implored U.S. citizens to not watch last weekend's tournament, which was held on a course owned by former President Donald Trump in New Jersey.

The National Press Club is a U.S. based journalism and communications organization.

In February, LIV Golf hired Fleischer Communications as a comms consultant. Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary and president at Fleischer Communications, told PRWeek that “almost all” of his work is on a retainer-basis but declined to speak to the length of specific contracts.

Edelman partnered with Saudi Arabia on its Search Beyond campaign, an effort to market the kingdom as a tourist destination through celebrity endorsements and film productions. Politico reported that the kingdom is paying Edelman $787,000 each year for the campaign.

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