American actor Dwayne Johnson – aka The Rock – had "an historic night" with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman this week.
Posting a screenshot of an article from The Hollywood Reporter about the meeting to social media, the action star (Fast and Furious, Jumanji) expressed his excitement over the private dinner he shared with the prince and other Hollywood elites.
Concluding his post on Facebook, Johnson says he looks forward to his "first visit soon to Saudi Arabia." He then promises to bring his "finest tequila to share with the his Royal Highness and family."
Tequila is a traditional form of Mexican alcohol, distilled from the the blue agave plant.
Alcohol remains strictly illegal under Saudi law. Punishments for trafficking and consuming alcohol can be severe, including hundreds of lashes, imprisonment and deportation. However, it is widely known that many expats – and locals – continue to consume liquor regularly throughout the kingdom.
Many residents find creative methods to brew alcohol in their private homes, despite the risks. Some smugglers also find unique ways to bring alcohol into Saudi Arabia. For example, back in 2015, border agents discovered a shipment of 48,000 cans of Heineken beer disguised with Pepsi labels that smugglers were attempting to bring into the kingdom.
Despite the kingdom's prohibition on alcohol, The Rock's Facebook post suggests he's confident he can bring tequila as a gift.
While the post has remained unchanged on the actor's Facebook page, which boasts more than 58 million followers, he edited the caption shared on his official Instagram (which has 102 million followers), Middle East Eye reported.
The adjusted post simply concludes with:
"Thank you everyone for a great night. Luckily, I brought my own tequila."
It's unclear why Johnson would have edited his Instagram post while leaving his Facebook post the same.
Johnson dined with the crown prince at American media mogul Rupert Murdoch's estate in the Los Angeles suburb of Bel Air. Disney CEO Bob Iger, Universal film chairman Jeff Shell, Fox TV exec Peter Rice and film studio chief Stacey Snider, as well as actors Morgan Freeman and Michael Douglas were all in attendance, according to media reports.
Prince Mohammed is currently touring the United States meeting with politicians, business leaders and media professionals to shore up support and investment for his ambitious reform plan. Meeting with Hollywood elites sends a clear message that the kingdom is ready for greater entertainment opportunities moving forward.
Saudi Arabia's first cinemas are opening on April 18, after a long-standing ban was officially removed a few months ago. The young crown prince has been seen as the key figure leading major social reforms his country, greatly improving women's rights and challenging extremely conservative policies.
Although Saudi Arabia hasn't lifted its prohibitions on alcohol, there have been some hints that the kingdom will take a more lax stance moving forward.
Last August, Saudi leaders unveiled plans to transform the kingdom's Red Sea coast into a luxury beach destination governed "by independent laws."
According to a document reported by Bloomberg, the development will be a "semi-autonomous" area within the kingdom, leading to speculation that conservative rules on dress and prohibition of alcohol will not be applied.