WWE fine wrestler $100,000 for unearthed bigoted comments
Professional wrestler Dylan Miley, better known by his ring name Lars Sullivan, has been fined $100,000 by WWE for unearthed bigoted comments he made in the past.
These comments, which were largely made between 2007 and 2013, were often racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic - and sometimes targeted towards WWE employees - many of which are now his co-workers.
This is the moment "The Freak" Sullivan made his debut on WWE:
Sullivan is accused of running two accounts on the Bodybuilding.com forum, which a Reddit user has compiled and verified. The comments included a sexist remark about WWE executive Stephanie McMahon, racist remarks to other users, and claims that "there is a grey area when it comes to the definition of rape".
He also claimed that Muslims "should be demonized for their religion", stated that black and Hispanic people are all looking for "government handouts," and called those suffering with mental illness "weak-minded".
Sullivan later apologised via a statement that distanced him from his past comments:
"There is no excuse for the inappropriate remarks that I made years ago," he said. "They do not reflect my personal beliefs nor who I am today, and I apologize to anyone I offended."
These comments originally resurfaced in November 2018, but the controversy recently arose once again after WWE Superstar and former Tag-Team Champion Big E addressed them on Twitter.
Sullivan made his debut on the main roster for WWE just last month, but over time the entertainment company has been facing pressure from fans and other critics of Sullivan. WWE issued a statement on the matter to Forbes earlier this week, in which they wrote:
"WWE supports a culture of inclusion regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, and we are committed to embracing all individuals as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.
"Dylan Miley (aka Lars Sullivan) will be fined $100,000 and required to complete sensitivity training for offensive commentary uncovered from his past. WWE will also facilitate meetings for Dylan with community organizations to foster further discussion around the power of social media and the impact of your words."
Some have criticised this move as Sullivan (an independent contractor) was not employed by them for the vast majority of these comments, meaning they are punishing him for comments they were already aware of prior to his signing, yet are still employing him.
Others have suggested that these posts show a "long history of repeated of behavior" that needs to be properly addressed.
At this time it's unclear what kind of impact this fine will have on his contract or his future career with the company.