The WWE has taken steps to address comments made by one of their newer main roster stars, Lars Sullivan. The wrestler has been at the center of controversy over comments he had made in a bodybuilding forum before he signed with the WWE.
The comments have been described as racist, homophobic and misogynistic. He also took shots at some past and present members of the WWE roster.
Sullivan did apologize for his inappropriate comments but the WWE has decided to take further action against the wrestler. The wrestling promotion addressed their “inclusion” philosophy in a statement that also included specifics on Sullivan’s fine;
“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.”
There have been rumors that the WWE and/or members of the executive team had been aware of these past comments but had hoped they would not resurface. When a user on Reddit did bring them up again, several websites picked up the story and brought it the attention on many wrestling fans who hadn’t been aware that they existed.
The WWE remained quiet at first but it is believed that they received complaints about the comments and the company’s lack of response from sponsors causing the need for the issue to be addressed. The WWE decided to impose a large fine and send Sullivan to sensitivity training.
Sullivan didn’t address the comments at first and instead blocked the Reddit user on social media. When the story was picked up by several websites, he took to social media to post his apology. It has been noted that he has been apologizing to several members of the roster for his past comments and addressing the issue head on.
One of his fellow Superstars took to social media to confirm this. Titus O’Neil took to Twitter to acknowledge that Sullivan sought him out to apologize and discuss the comments he made 9 years ago;
.@LarsSWWE I Applaud you for seeking out myself&Others on the @WWE Roster to not only Sincerely Apologize, But also seek Guidance as to how to move forward in being a Better Human Being than you were 9years ago. Nobody is Perfect Including Thank you @VinceMcMahon 4Taking action!!
— Titus O’Neil (@TitusONeilWWE) May 15, 2019
This is a positive development for Sullivan as O’Neil is seen as a backstage leader, especially when it comes to issues of race. He was highly critical of the racist comments wrestling legend Hulk Hogan had made in the past that surfaced during the Gawker trial.
Sullivan looks to be rehabilitating his reputation with his peers and within the company, which is definitely a positive sign. The $100,000 fine is believed to be the second highest ever imposed by the WWE. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was fined $150,000 for walking out on the company in 2002.