POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: #SpeakingOut

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/19/pollocks-news-update-speakingout/

Over the past two days, professional wrestling has undergone its reckoning with dozens of people coming forward with allegations of rape, abuse, assault, manipulation, and coercion among others that have left individuals reeling with the effects of said infractions.

I, like many, have been horrified at these stories and had to step away at times to clear my mind. Unfortunately, many of these brave people haven’t been able to walk away from the trauma sustained and are hopefully, experiencing a modicum of relief to get their allegations out there and not living with these experiences alone in silence.

The #SpeakingOut movement has exposed the very worst of this industry that goes beyond isolated incidents or “a few bad apples”. There is a culture that has operated without checks and balances, with access to positions of power, and those who felt they were above consequences for their actions. That must stop.

The rehabilitation of the victims is first and foremost. Suffering in silence and living with the effects of these actions is horrifying to envision going through while seeing those alleged to have committed such actions celebrated in your industry.

As a society, we hope that those accused find therapy and better themselves and often that takes the actions of those brave enough to come forward and force a public spotlight to enact change among those who felt they were untouchable. Solace for their actions should come from the damage they inflicted on their victims, and not for fear of losing their job or standing in the industry.

I have struggled over the past twenty-four hours to get a handle on how best to cover this story. In a journalistic setting, we must remain impartial even with the vile accusations presented. As journalists, we must put personal feelings aside and owe it to the audience we serve that we provide the opportunity for the accused to respond.

A statement that a company takes the allegations seriously and are investigating the matter is only the first response and can’t be the last one. These allegations are too big and involve too many people to forget or ignore what has been alleged.

The next set of questions is how promotions – big and small – can create environments where all feel safe and there is a transparent process for such claims to be made. The industry cannot police itself and that leads to what kind of oversight is possible.

This must start from the ground level from training facilities with protocol and oversight that eliminates young performers being taken advantage of by their superiors, which was a common thread throughout the stories. Throughout the independent scene, the hope would be immediate action taken and that will take locker rooms unifying to clean up the industry allowing victims to feel comfortable sharing their stories and knowing they will not be the ones affected in a negative way regarding their career if the assaulter is higher on the food chain.

Then, the national level of companies needs a clear-cut policy and independent body that staff and talent can share in a confidential manner. All this requires resources and education and while the big companies have the means to take proactive measures regarding instances of sexual assault, abuse, racism, mental health issues, and constructing a safe workplace, independent companies live hand-to-mouth. How equipped are they to create these measures beyond self-oversight?

The whispers of the industry need to be amplified into screams for reform. That won’t happen overnight, but a hell of a lot of movement occurred over this last night.

We can’t snap our fingers and assume the industry is going to wake up to a different culture and set of ethics. It’s an industry full of strong-willed individuals that will force change and ones that are finally being heard. Others will shrug this off and call it overblown or take the easiest path in front of them – to assume nothing is wrong and go about their business. It’s the hope there are far more agents of change than dissenters of those coming forward.

These allegations don’t paint everybody attached to the business, but it covers way too many to categorize it as the exception to the rule.

I don’t have all the answers. I’ve always thought one of my strengths is not being afraid to say, “I don’t know”. It’s the basis of my job as a reporter to seek out answers and knowledge that I don’t have. What I do know is that this site has always treated these subjects with the importance, respect, and urgency they command. This story will be no different. I hope to speak with many people and different voices to add further sunlight to this dark topic.

This is all I have for today and I’ve struggled for hours to get my words out. I’ll hopefully have a proper news update this weekend but today didn’t seem appropriate to be focusing on anything but this story.

It has rocked this industry to its core, and that’s a good thing.

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@johnpollock. I’m interested to hear your discussion. Whilst obviously I find most the allegations appalling, I also think making such public allegations is dangerous because, as this has clearly shown, the public rush to judgement based on nothing but accusations which will forever stain that individual’s character even if found to be false.

In countries that are supposed to function based on the rule of law which affords the accused a fair trial and the right to refute those allegations I fully expect that each and every one of them has filed a criminal complaint with the relevant authorities in the relevant jurisdictions.

Before rushing to judgement, everyone should consider how they would feel if such terrible accusations were made of them in public before fair due process has taken place.

I am not saying the accusations are true or not. I, like everyone else, do not know the truth and we should all remember that before publicly taking a definitive position on any single case.

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Fantastic write-up John.

For those looking to keep-up… and the list is growing by the hour, which is terrifying and eye-opening… You can see the list of names / allegations posted here:
http://www.zandigfans.net/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2206

Last I counted there were 95 names.

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Dave Lagana gone from NWA

Very well said. I hope people don’t rush to “find flaws” in the accusers, and I also hope they don’t publicly condemn the accused. None of us know what is true vs what is not. With 95 people being named, unfortunately its probably a combination of truths, lies, and different perspectives.

I think what we can all agree on is that this is an embarrassment for the business, and that our hearts go out to anyone who truly was assaulted.

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Social media is a great way to get the story out but as you said, the angry mob mentality of social media is never going to handle any of this in a reasonable, well thought-out manner. Sympathising with the accusers and assuming they’re telling the truth is fair enough but you need more to actually start harassing and calling for someone’s career to be over in my opinion.

And therein lies the danger of weaponising the internet rather than pursuing justice through the justice system. It only takes one of the people making an allegation to be proved to be lying to immediately dilute the credibility of everyone else.

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What I am personally struggling with is how do I (we?) respond as a fan(s).

I’m not surprised by the disgusting culture of the industry because as I’ve noted in another thread, all you have to do is look at the most mainstream company’s policy towards their “independent contractors” or their dealings with things like Saudi Arabia or Steroids and Drug use. This fish stinks from the head.

I enjoy the communal aspect of Wrestling. My love for it as an adult was renergized when I had the chance to support John and Wai venture on their own, as well as getting into other promotions like New Japan.
It won’t surprise me to see additional talent I do really enjoy be accused of wrong doings. In fact I’m willing to bet bigger names haven’t come out if only because of the power dynamic.
It’s going to be hard to want to spend money on talent going forward, that I don’t know well enough to know if they deserve my support. As a fan base - we are all Marks for the Performers - but should not confuse the personalities we see with who they are as real people. The industry has always been designed to target marks and make them spend money. It’s essentially an agreed upon con. But without knowing what is really happening it does feel kinda gross to continue to agree to that deal.

Do we boycot promotions that employ them? Do we rethink our willingness to support companies and talent with our dollars? Do we only focus on cleaning up the industry while not being part of it and simultaneously discussing it as we typically do?
I don’t like “cancel culture” but at the same time how else do we hold these companies and talents accountable?

Anyway that’s my 2 cents as I reconsider my fandom and how and what I support in the industry.

As always I want to thank @johnpollock who puts care and thought into covering such delicate matters. He’s a pros pro and it’s an honor to support his work. As well as Wai who I’m sure will speak eloquently on the subject in upcoming shows.

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Very well said @johnpollock. When issues like these come up they supercede the news of the day and the same old same old. These issues as well as others that have bubbled to the surface in the past two weeks need to be addressed and we can’t expect to know all the answers or the best course of action right away. But change, real systemic change is needed.

Happy to see that Riddle has a top notch legal team… Who needs printer paper?!

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The way anyone chooses to share their abuse is their decision. Period.

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Great post & I hope we continue to see brave victims speak out. We need to rid this from humanity.

Just one thing I wanted to touch upon;

‘As a society, we hope that those accused find therapy and better themselves’

I wonder if @johnpollock can clarify the usage of accused in this context? Do you mean someone who is found to be guilty should find therapy & better themselves because accused is different to guilty obviously. Someone can be accused yet innocent & surely they wouldn’t need help in that sense to better themselves.

Apologies if I’m misinterpreting something, I’m willing to be educated.

Thanks in advance.

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I would have to assume that “accused” should be replaced with “guilty”. I can’t see anyone thinking that someone falsely accused would need therapy.

Side note…is this the same xstraightedgex that used to post on the BTR boards back in the mid 2000’s?

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Whatever you shared seems to have been taken down. What was it?

Thanks for the input.
Not the same person though unfortunately :slightly_smiling_face:

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Also it was a note from Riddle’s attorney (printed on sticky lables - hate when that happens)
Denying the allegations against him & claiming that the accuser had been stalking him.

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Interesting, I can’t see why anyone would choose to put a legal statement so serious out that way, but to each their own I guess.

This was a great write up @johnpollock, thank you.

This is the darkest of times. This is worse than any wrestling death. It’s worse than any company going out of business. Because it’s dozens of people - possibly hundreds of people throughout the course or the past few decades - whose lives have been so profoundly impacted by the most toxic of cultures.

I’d spent about 24 hours thinking this might be it for me with wrestling. After every death I wrestle with the pain caused by this sport that I love, a pain that impacts so many people. But this is so much worse.

And then it happened. A couple of hours ago my local wrestling promotion announced that it would no longer be using a wrestler following accusations made be a female wrestler.

And it turns out it’s my favourite guy in the promotion. The one I’d invested in, bought a t-shirt for, gone out of my way to meet.

It’s weirdly devastating as a fan to know you’ve invested in a true piece of shit. It’s impossible to imagine how the victim feels feels in this case, as her allegation is of intimate partner rape (which she backed up with a screen shot of him apologising.) Imagine trusting someone and investing in someone on that level for them to betray you in the worst manner possible.

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So this presents somewhat of a problem to AEW in particular. They have been and are still actively promoting a rapist who was actually convicted which suggests they believe people who have served their sentence are not beyond redemption. So how can they possibly terminate anyone on the basis of accusations without being complete hypocrites. They also have painted themselves into a corner as to what general statements they can issue.