Saudi Arabia has sacked the head of its entertainment authority, state media said, following a conservative backlash against a circus featuring women wearing figure-hugging costumes.

“Ahmad al-Khatib, chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority has been removed from his position,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said citing a royal decree, without giving a reason.

The pro-government Sabq news website said Khatib was dismissed on Monday over a controversial circus performance in Riyadh, which included women wearing “indecent clothes.”

A video circulating on social media appeared to show a female performer in a tight pink costume, drawing outrage from Saudi arch-conservatives.

Saudi officials did not respond to AFP’s requests for comment.

Khatib’s sacking comes in the midst of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s far-reaching liberalisation drive that has ended decades-long bans on women driving and cinemas, and allowed some mixed-gender concerts.

Khatib had been leading a multi-billion dollar initiative to turn the austere desert kingdom into a culture and entertainment hub.

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