In recent years, the Saudi Arabian monarchy has poured billions of dollars into Silicon Valley, promoting the image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a savvy reformer, eager to modernize the country.
But after recent allegations that Saudi agents killed journalist and critic Jamal Khashoggi, some of those companies and investors are tentatively backing away from the regime.
As details emerged about Khashoggi’s disappearance, some tech figures have distanced themselves from high-profile Saudi projects.
On Tuesday, Neom, a planned government-backed futuristic megacity, released a list of advisory board members.
Venture capital investor Marc Andreessen declined to comment, and board members Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank, and Travis Kalanick, former CEO of Uber, did not respond to questions.
Steve Case, a tech investor and former CEO of AOL, tweeted that his plans to attend the conference are on hold.