World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and GLAAD are looking forward to working together to spread an anti-bullying message to the masses, and WWE has invited us to conduct seminars for their writing staff.
Our outreach to WWE was prompted by outrage from many LGBT viewers, about a series of homophobic taunts by wrestler John Cena on the USA program WWE Raw in late February. We reached out to WWE, which responded swiftly and positively.
GLAAD was first made aware of the incidents by several of its members following the February 21 broadcast of WWE Raw, which featured wrestler John Cena responding to taunts made by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with a rap song making fun of Johnson’s film roles. The next incident occurred on the show a week later (Feb. 28), when Cena was challenging another wrestler known as “The Miz” while in the ring with him, and he insinuated that the Miz and his wrestling partner might secretly be a couple.
WWE is PG-rated and reaches a young audience. Young people are of course the demographic most likely to experience homophobic bullying or to be bullies themselves, and therefore a key demographic for getting this message across. Equally important are the families of these young people, who may be watching these shows with them.
GLAAD contacted WWE executives after receiving our first reports. We have been assured that not only will such incidents not happen again, but WWE intends to reach out to their audience, making it clear that bullying someone with homophobic taunts or for their perceived sexual orientation is wrong. WWE released the following apology statement to that effect:
“WWE takes this issue very seriously, and has already spoken with our talent about these incidents. 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.”
We are very much looking forward to developing our relationship with WWE, and we thank them both for hearing our message loud and clear, and for planning to send an anti-bullying message of their own.