Professional wrestling is facing a reckoning as additional abuse allegations are being leveled against those in the industry.
The “#SpeakingOut” hashtag has revealed abhorrent allegations of sexual and physical abuse within pro wrestling over the last three days. The allegations have exposed an ugly dark side of the business.
Following allegations of sexual abuse, WWE announced the release of Jack Gallagher (Jack Claffey) on Friday evening. He had been a part of WWE’s cruiserweight division since 2016.
David Lagana resigned from his position as NWA’s Vice President on Friday, a day after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.
AEW also announced that wrestler James Mcahren, known on-screen as Jimmy Havoc, will receive treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues. Mcahren was also accused of sexual and mental abuse, and AEW added that his status with the company will be readdressed when he gets out of rehab.
These are the latest of a series of allegations that involve a litany of wrestlers, spanning from the independent scene all the way to WWE, wrestling’s most influential company.
The opening segment of Friday’s SmackDown featured the main roster debut of Matt Riddle, who interrupted AJ Styles’ Intercontinental Championship celebration, then defeated Styles in a non-title match. That segment was taped well in advance of Friday, but was mired in controversy upon airing. Riddle has been the subject of allegations of abuse from independent wrestler Candy Cartwright, who accused Riddle of pressuring her into sex acts against her will. Riddle’s attorney issued a press release early Friday evening, denying the allegations.
There have been multiple allegations made against WWE star Patrick Clark, known as Velveteen Dream, for sending sexual messages to minors. Clark has not responded to those allegations.
WWE released an official statement on Friday regarding the recent allegations against their talent: “Individuals are responsible for their own personal actions. WWE has zero tolerance for matters involving domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Upon arrest for such misconduct, a WWE talent will be immediately suspended. Upon conviction for such misconduct, a WWE talent will be immediately terminated.
“WWE’s ability to fine, suspend or terminate a WWE talent will not be, however, limited or compromised in any manner in the event incontrovertible evidence of such illegal misconduct is presented to WWE.”
Sports Illustrated will continue to follow the story.