Saudi King Sacks Photographer-Slapping Aide

AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine

Saudi King Salman has been on something of a good-manners mission of late, disciplining members of the royal family and its employees for rude behavior. The latest to earn his ire, and get a pink slip in the bargain, was Mohammed al-Tobayashi, the head of royal protocol. Tobayashi made the mistake of thinking “royal protocol” included slapping a photographer in public.

The BBC notes that no official reason for Tobayashi’s ouster was given, but footage of him clobbering the photographer in the background while King Salman welcomed King Mohammed of Morocco at the Riyadh airport went viral, leading to anger from journalists and embarrassment for the regime.

Gulf News says this is not the first time the slap-happy protocol chief (whose name is spelled “al-Tibaishi” in the report) was removed from his position. He was also fired by the late King Abdullah in 2013, but was reinstated three months later.

King Salman’s action was evidently welcomed by Saudi reporters, one of whom proclaimed it “a great day for journalists and media figures,” hailing the king for “again showing that no one is above the law and that all people, officials or not, are to be held responsible for their words and deeds and for not respecting people’s right to dignity.”

One suspects the women of Saudi Arabia might have a few things to say about that, if they were allowed to.