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Britney Abrahams, a former WWE writer, has filed a lawsuit against the company and Vince McMahon for alleged retaliation she faced for raising objections to scripts that contained “offensively racist and stereotypical jargon” for Black wrestlers.
As a child of the ’90s, the Attitude Era in WWF (as it was known at the time) was one of the most exciting and popular periods of professional wrestling. It was over-the-top, brash, super violent, in-your-face, and if you didn’t like it — they had “two words for ya.”
With indelible superstars like Mankind, The Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Trish Stratus, Lita, Jackie, Farooq, D’Lo Brown and so many more, WWF stood atop the sports entertainment mountaintop, yet, few of us knew the racism permeating behind the titantron.
Per Annelise Gilbert and Mike Leonard of Bloomberg Law, a new lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Monday by Abrahams.
White writers introduced racist stereotypes often
According to Bleacher Report, Abrahams, who is Black, was hired by WWE as a writer for Raw and Friday Night SmackDown in 2020.
Among the complaints alleged by Abrahams in the lawsuit were the use of racial and gender stereotypes in scripts, including one that instructed current Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair to say “Uh-Uh! Don’t make me take off my earrings and beat your a**!”
WWE is habitual line stepper of racism
Another called for Apollo Crews to talk with a “stereotypical and exaggerated Nigerian accent.” She said her complaints were rebuffed.
According to Gilbert and Leonard, Abrahams also alleged she was subjected “to a number of racist pitches after complaining” with some ideas pitched on a Slack thread that Vince and Stephanie McMahon were included on.
Some of the ideas posed in the thread by other writers, per Abrahams’ complaint, included having a Black male wrestler dress in drag and on a separate occasion one writer allegedly proposed giving a Muslim wrestler a secret that would reveal they were “behind the 9/11 attacks.”
According to Abrahams, the idea of having a Black wrestler dress in drag was scrapped after a White writer said doing so could “perpetuate harmful stereotypes that would offend viewers.”
“Abrahams and other writers complained about the comments,” Gilbert and Leonard wrote, “to which Vice President Christine Lubrano allegedly responded, ‘Wacky things are said in the writer’s room all the time!’ and ‘I know but look at the waves we’re making in the company. 4 years ago, no woman worked on the writer’s team!'”
Abrahams was fired by WWE in April 2022 after continuing to oppose the allegedly racist and sexist pitches. The reason given for her firing was that she took a chair branded with the WrestleMania 38 logo, but this is allegedly a common practice that her White male counterparts were punished for.
WWE didn’t respond to Gilbert and Leonard’s request for comment.
Vince McMahon once called John Cena “my n***a”
According to AP News, Vince McMahon retired as WWE’s chairman and CEO in July 2022 after stepping down temporarily one month earlier.
The Wall Street Journal reported over the summer that McMahon agreed to pay more than $12 million over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity. Yet, Vince McMahon is going to serve as executive chairman of the new company.
According to Bleacher Report, The Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as federal prosecutors, also looked into the payouts.
Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan took over as co-CEOs of WWE during McMahon’s retirement. Triple H was promoted to executive vice president of talent relations. He was elevated to chief content officer in September.
However, when Vince returned to the company, Stephanie McMahon soon thereafter announced her resignation from WWE on Jan. 10.
Dana White and Vince McMahon are a treacherous Tag Team
Earlier this month, WWE was sold to UFC parent company Endeavor Group Holdings in a deal that will see the two companies merge together to become a publicly traded company when the deal becomes finalized.
With men like Vince McMahon and Dana White at the helm, it again proves powerfully racist and domestically abusive White men can do their worst and elevate themselves to positions of authority whilst evading a modicum of accountability.
According to Gilbert and Leonard, Abrahams is “seeking reinstatement, damages, declaratory judgment, and an injunction restraining defendants from engaging in such unlawful conduct.”
While professional wrestling skeptics often question how avid fans can be invested in something so “fake” and “scripted”, longtime Black WWE viewers know this lawsuit is the realest move we’ve seen in years.
This is just coming out now? And I’m the only one that thinks that segment with Bailey and bianca was not racist? Like or sonya and naomi where she’s just hating so much on Naomi or her friends for no reason that segment sucks so much until it will become so racist
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