WWE puts anti-bulling message to the testAround the Nation Thursday, March 31st, 2011
CONNECTICUT – After wrestler John Cena made a number of televised comments that many viewers considered anti-gay, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has announced its intention to promote anti-bullying messages. After making the formal announcement with Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the WWE was already taking actions by reprimanding one of its announcers.
Cena’s comments, made in the WWE program Raw, included negative implications of homosexuality in reference to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and another wrestler known as “The Miz.” Viewers complained about a rap song in which Cena mocked Johnson’s film roles with lines like, “He wore lipstick in Get Shorty, and rocked a skirt for The Game Plan,” and “Just don’t go racing to Witch Mountain, Rock, cause your mountain is Brokeback.” A week later, Cena taunted “The Miz” while facing off in the ring by suggesting that he and his wrestling partner, Alex Riley, were secretly a couple.
Viewers and anti-bullying advocates were particularly concerned about Cena’s comments after the WWE began promoting itself as a PG network, suitable for adolescent viewers. In response to mounting complaints, GLAAD contacted executives at WWE and received a prompt response in favor of anti-bullying initiatives. WWE issued an apology explaining that they take the issue “very seriously.”
“We are taking steps and working with GLAAD to ensure that our fans know that WWE is against bullying or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We strongly value our fans in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and apologize to them for these incidents,” the WWE said in a statement.
This past weekend, however, WWE announcer Michael Cole used the word “faggot” on Twitter in response to a post by fellow announcer Josh Mathews, according to the fan-based website prowrestling.net. After deleting the post, Cole wrote, “I apologize to any and all who were offended by my tweet toward young Josh Mathews. It was obviously not meant the way it was taken.”
WWE responded by stating that they alerted GLAAD to Cole’s post and addressed the situation with him.
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