It appears a Russian circus performance cost one Saudi minister his job.
Ahmad al-Khatib, chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority, was reportedly sacked after people complained about a circus that featured women wearing skintight costumes.
"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.
While the tweet did not include the reason, Sabq news website reported a circus performance in Riyadh triggered the suspension.
Footage of the controversial show has been doing rounds on the internet.
It features a female performer wearing a unitard-style costume, which is necessary for such performances.
A video was also posted by Ali Shihabi, founder of the Arabia Foundation, a pro-Saudi think tank, which included the circus acts as well as complaints from conservative Saudi men.
The criticism and Khatib's sacking is yet another example of how the ultraconservative Gulf kingdom is struggling to adjust tradition with progress spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has lifted decades-long bans on cinemas and women drivers.
While bin Salman's reforms have drawn praise from the international community, they have attracted condemnation from Saudi hardliners, especially religious leaders who had long held influence over the country's policymaking.
In a case similar to that of Khatib's ouster, Saudi sports authorities shut down a fitness center for women in Riyadh after a video appeared to show a woman in figure-hugging gym clothes.
Defending the decision, Saud al-Qahtani, a media adviser to the royal court, said at the time that the kingdom was on the path of "moderation without moral breakdown".
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Wikimedia.org / Usien