After the death of George Floyd, many WWE wrestlers were among the voices speaking out about racism, from Titus O’Neill sharing how it feels “to raise two Black Men in this country” to CM Punk making a strong statement on white allyship on WWE Backstage. Yesterday, WWE joined the legion of brands making official statements condemning racism, but many fans weren’t buying it.
WWE’s statement was:
WWE supports an inclusive society and condemns racial injustice. We stand beside our Black performers, employees and fans around the world, and encourage everyone to use their voice to speak out against racism. We offer our sincere condolences to the family of George Floyd and the families of countless others who have lost their lives due to senseless violence.
Like many other recent comments by brands, WWE’s statement condemns racism and acknowledges the death of George Floyd, but remains politically non-specific, attempting to enter the conversation without weighing in on the issue of police brutality or mentioning police at all.
The tweet doesn’t have the dreaded ratio of more comments than likes, but since it was posted yesterday, it has received thousands of replies and quote-tweets pointing out WWE’s history with black performers and it’s involvement in American politics. Examples brought up by fans include:
- the Jordan Myles (now ACH) NXT t-shirt design from 2019 that looked like blackface
- Triple H and the rest of DX doing blackface on Raw in 1998
- Akeem the African Dream
- Titus O’Neill’s suspension from WWE in 2016
- rehiring Hulk Hogan and reinstating him into the WWE Hall of Fame
- Vince McMahon using the n-word in a WWE comedy bit in 2005
- the New Day’s original preacher gimmick
- the racially-charged 2003 feud between Triple H and Booker T that ended with HHH defeating Booker at WrestleMania XIX
- the McMahon family’s relationship with US President and WWE Hall of Famer Donald Trump, with that picture of the McMahon in the Oval Office posted many times and some Twitter users specifically mentioning Linda McMahon running America First Action, a pro-Trump Super PAC
Twitter user @arxherarios commented on this mass dunking on WWE by saying “This is going in the This You? Hall of Fame.” It definitely shows that while WWE would like to present itself as an organization against racial injustice, that’s unconvincing to many, and they have examples of past and ongoing company behavior to support that belief.