WWE wrestler Jordan Myles criticized his employer as racist after the company designed a t-shirt that evoked racial stereotypes.
Myles (real name Albert Hardie Jr., 31) tweeted Sunday that the shirt, which with its big red lips and bright white teeth on a black background recalled racist “sambo” imagery, “is a slap in the face to EVERY African American performer, fan, and supporter.”
In a since-deleted Twitter video, Myles said, “WWE doesn’t care about black people” before flashing a middle finger.
WWE issued a statement later Sunday saying the shirt had already been redesigned and that none were sold.
“Albert Hardie Jr. (aka Jordan Myles) approved this t-shirt for sale,” the statement read. “As always, we work collaboratively with all of our performers to develop logos and merchandise designs and get their input and approval before proceeding. This was the same process with Albert, and we responded swiftly once he later requested that the logo/t-shirt be redesigned. No t-shirts were sold.”
Myles said he objected to the design and offered an alternative, but WWE still went forward with the design he felt uncomfortable with. He also tweeted a screenshot of an email from a WWE employee in which the employee says Triple H (WWE executive Paul Levesque) wanted the design to be “more ‘teethy.’” Myles said he initially accepted the design because it was shown to him on a white shirt.
Myles also brought up WWE’s continued employment of Hulk Hogan, who was re-hired by the company in July 2018, three years after he was fired for being caught repeatedly using the N-word.
The controversial shirt was one of more than revealed by WWE in mid-September for talent on its NXT brand. Myles said he spoke out on Sunday because “my soul hasn’t been able to rest properly since I’ve laid eyes on it.”
Myles, known for his work on the independent circuit as ACH, signed with WWE in February and was quickly thrust into a prominent position on NXT. He was booked to win NXT’s “Breakout Tournament” in August, which earned him a match against Adam Cole for the NXT Championship.