Openly gay professional wrestler Darren Young is not happy with the WWE organization after it was revealed that being open about his sexuality kept him from competing at an event in Abu Dhabi, where, according to United Arab Emirates law, homosexuality is illegal. BuzzFeed reports.
The 33-year-old athlete took to Twitter this week to call out the WWE for refusing to let him travel to the Middle East.
"Why do we bring the best entertainment into a country like abu dhabi and they look down upon women and gays? I get it! #MillionsofDollars," wrote Young, whose real name is Fred Rosser, in a now-deleted tweet.
Soon after deleting the message, the wrestler wrote:
"My freedom of speech is gone. Gone but not forgotten...I feel like no none has my back and it upsets me. The struggle is real. I'm human."
Young was met with support from fans on Twitter, with many lauding him for speaking his mind and being honest about his feelings on the situation. Pro-wrestlers Lance Storm and Sean Waltman also backed up Young.
Soon after airing his grievances to his followers, the WWE issued a statement, as Deadspin points out.
"WWE does not discriminate against individuals regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation, and we continue to proudly support Fred Rosser (aka WWE Superstar Darren Young) for being open about his sexuality."
"Unfortunately, WWE cannot change cultures and laws around the world, and thus we did not send Fred Rosser to the United Arab Emirates for our upcoming events for his own protection."
"WWE also fully supports Fred Rosser's right to express his views on personal social media accounts rather than WWE's corporate platforms."
The Washington Post had an interesting take on the situation, writing:
What's happening to Young is unquestionably messed up, but it also sets a dangerous precedent. While in some sense it might seem admirable that WWE is looking out for the safety of its only openly gay performer, in another sense, it's cowardly not to let him make his own decision. By taking that right away from Young, WWE is tacitly complicit in upholding the UAE's inhumane laws against gays.
Think about it this way: What would happen if FIFA, a behemoth international sports organization (opposed to a modestly sized American athletic theatrical troupe), didn't allow gay soccer players or openly gay fans to play in or watch the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a Middle Eastern country with an equally deplorable human rights record?
Young came out in 2013 during an apparent impromptu interview with TMZ and is reportedly the first out WWE performer.
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