The wrestling community was lit up after degrading and sexist comments about Peyton Royce by wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer. Royce confronted Meltzer over the remarks, he offered a confusing apology. But that didn’t stop Royce’s fellow WWE stars and other members of the wrestling community to condemn the editor of the Wrestling Observer for his obtuse and offending comments. Royce’s tag partner Billie Kay defended and praised her partner.
This is unacceptable on so many levels. How dare you say that someone is more attractive when they are ‘lighter’. You have no idea how stupid comments like this can affect someone for life.@PeytonRoyceWWE is PERFECT just the way she is. A strong & beautiful WOMAN! https://t.co/1FDakcolpf
— Billie Kay (@BillieKayWWE) August 15, 2018
WWE reporter Renee Young wasn’t having it either.
What a true piece of sweltering hot garbage. You’re an angel too good for this earth. He’d be lucky if you gave him the time of day. Which you would, because you’re also a great person. Love ya girl. Let’s set better examples
— Renee Young (@ReneeYoungWWE) August 15, 2018
— Ember Moon (@WWEEmberMoon) August 15, 2018
Male wrestlers also defended the Australian Superstar.
-6 stars, Dave.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) August 15, 2018
— Drake Maverick (@WWEMaverick) August 15, 2018
Tyler Breeze (rightly) chastised Meltzer for his wishy-washy apology.
There’s a way to genuinely apologize to someone and then there’s a way to pass the buck trying to redirect blame because you got called out. Own up to your words. YOU’RE the one who said them.
— Prince Pretty (@MmmGorgeous) August 15, 2018
A few legends also chimed in
I’m sorry. But this makes me sick. https://t.co/2khtHFgH1A
— Beth Copeland (@TheBethPhoenix) August 15, 2018
In my opinion, Fit Finlay had the best response.
— Fit Finlay (@ringfox1) August 15, 2018
Is The Outrage Justified?
Several people are concerned that the backlash over Meltzer’s comments outweighs what he initially said. What others point out it is ‘hypocritical’ or WWE wrestlers to condemn the sexism of others when they work for an institution that his profited from sexism. Allow me to address each of these points.
In our modern age, there is always going to be a louder backlash. It is the cost of a free and open Internet and society. If anything, it is a tool to make sure that people choose their words carefully. Meltzer was rightfully condemned for his comments, but also legitimately defended. For a free society to exist, the free-flow of ideas must continue. I am not calling for Meltzer to lose his job or his newsletter, in fact, few are. Many are, rightfully, saying that condemning Meltzer and then unsubscribing from his newsletter is the proper way to signal to him that his comments were misguided.
As for the “hypocrisy” angle. Whataboutism is not an argument. Not only does it excuse the original behavior but it puts those claiming “what about this other thing” in a position where they can’t criticize anything ever because of course there is always something else you could have said about ANOTHER controversy. Do you expect wrestlers to risk losing jobs over a complicated global matter (Saudi Arabia) and at the same time not defend a friend and co-worker under attack?
Fake Wrestling vs. Real Comments
A lot of people are bringing up a storyline where body-shaming and sexism were used. But people who use that line of thinking forget one detail: IT IS FAKE WRESTLING! It is a story item used to create heroes and villains. I can’t believe I actually have to say this. When you see bullying or bad behavior in any other form of entertainment, do you also assume those broadcasting it are condoning the action? Of course not. Bullying is real and experienced by everyone, and artistic expressions of how people overcome that are normal and good. Stop conflating wrestling with real life. It is a simulation and a celebration of life by characters in a ring.