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March 19, 2011

WWE apologizes for John Cena rap, forms partnership with GLAAD

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) took issue with some of verbiage used by John Cena in his rap promo on Raw three weeks ago, which has prompted WWE to issue an apology and form a partnership with GLAAD on an anti-bullying campaign.

GLAAD said in a news release that it contacted WWE in response to outrage from some viewers over Cena’s “homophobic taunts” directed at The Rock. Among the lines GLAAD cited as offensive was Cena saying, “Just don’t go racing to Witch Mountain, Rock, cause your mountain is Brokeback.”

WWE subsequently released the following statement:

“WWE takes this issue very seriously, and has already spoken with our talent about these incidents. We are taking steps and working with GLAAD to ensure that our fans know that WWE is against bullying or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We strongly value our fans in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and apologize to them for these incidents.”

It was also noted in GLAAD’s news release that WWE has invited the organization to conduct training sessions for WWE’s staff of writers and editors.

Here’s my take: Bullying someone because of his or her sexual orientation obviously is a serious matter, and even though The Rock character is not portrayed as gay, suggesting that he is a homosexual as a means of insulting him does show a lack of tolerance.

My question, however, is this: Why is it not equally offensive for WWE female characters to be taunted for being overweight? Doesn't that also send a bad message to kids?

Posted by Kevin Eck at 8:00 AM | | Comments (51)


You don't need a seminar for the writing staff....ya just say, "No homophobic remarks of any kind or you're fired"........

I didn't have a problem with LayCool ripping Mickie "Piggy" James since that was part of the storyline and further established LayCool's shallowness. Vicki Guerro however, has a typical build for an average American woman. For "baby-faces" to be ripping her for her weight sends this messege to young girls = do whatever it takes to be model thin.

You know I think this is silly. I think WWE should of said, its entertainment. There are a lot of other shows that are more offensive and really quit taking yourselves so serious. Where were they when Cena was making fun of Justin Gabriel a few months back

So now WWE won't have a bigger wrestler pick on a smaller wrestler or have a wrestler attacked a family member or anything that would be viewed as bullying.

If you are a wretling or WWE fan you are fan. There are no personal attacks against you in WWE storylines it is between the WWE characters.

Next GLAAD will be sending mesages to churches who preach out against homosexuality. Go watch Glee and be happy. Leave the WWE alone.

"My question, however, is this: Why is it not equally offensive for WWE female characters to be taunted for being overweight? Doesn't that also send a bad message to kids?"

answer: not enough fat people are complaining.

"Why is it not equally offensive for WWE female characters to be taunted for being overweight? Doesn't that also send a bad message to kids?"


That depends on who delivers the taunt. Heels can do it in order to build heat and make fans want to see them get what's coming to them. By contrast, you can't really expect fat fans to get behind babyfaces who make fat jokes.

This is out of control. The PC and thought police are running amok. Now even Pro Wrestling is bending over to these people. Unreal.

to quote the Miz, REALLY

who cares...these organizations are getting ridiculus next you are going to have the naacp coming out and saying that cena is imitating a black guy and thats not aloud. all these organizations need to end, thats why the country is getting worse and worse everyday.

To answer your question, it's quite simple really. Overweight people haven't got an organisation to defend themselves, as formation of these groups is based on an issue of pride, and the vast majority of overweight people are more concerned with losing weight than associating themselves with other overweight people. But yeah, I get your point if you're going to take a stance on bullying, do it properly and don't be half arsed about it.

Kevin - It wasn't just the Rock rap that was an issue, but also his later bit where he repeatedly suggested Miz and Riley were gay.

And it IS equally offensive that WWE constantly insulting women for their weight. I'm not sure where the women's groups are on that one. Then again, this is the same company that made Trish Stratus strip and bark like a dog, so I have no idea why they haven't learned their lesson or why no one's done anything about it.

It's really sad that while no one would dare make these kinds of comments about someone's race or ethnicity, they think it's perfectly okay to make them about gender or orientation.

And so the last bastion of Political Incorrectness starts coming down.

I guess WWE would rather offende there fan's then Glaad, because I am offended by this stupid apoligy. Does soap operas apoligize for there bad acting and bad scripts with the same kind of lines. I am sorry but some times just have to get over the fact that it's fiction and just plain get over offending people because its going too happen in this day and age can't apolgize to everyone. I didn't have any problems with John Cena's lines or the Rocks for that matter. Just the anoying Michael Cole's childish rants

I'm not saying it's not offensive to taunt a female character for being overweight. The reality is, though, intolerance of obesity doesn't come with the same shadows of violence that homophobia does (gaybashing, Matthew Shepard,etc.)

That being said, I think it would be fine for a heel to say those kinds of things. Intolerance exists in the world whether WWE acknowledges it or not, so I'd rather have kids associate homophobia with an arena full of people booing the guy who said it.

WWE in an anti-bullying campaign? I thought political correctness went out the window when Linda McMahon lost her Senate race.

WWE, like all professional wrestling, is built on bullying. Every heel is essentially a bully. Randy Orton's head punts, The Miz's sneak attacks, Michael Cole hiding behind Jack Swagger's muscle. The Corre and the Nexus aren't factions, they're gangs, complete with gang colors.

As for the Divas, maybe if WWE went back to letting them wrestle actual matches - you know, ones that last at least as long as a promo - they wouldn't have to resort to fat comments.

Do I think Cena should resort to homophobic language? Of course not.

Do I think there should have been an apology? Probably.

Do I think WWE should tout an anti-bullying campaign where they pick and choose what bullying they're against? No chance.

Was anyone offended by Adrian Adonis or early days of Goldust? They played a stereotype on screen. And didn't Rock play a supposedly stereotypical gay character in "Be Cool"? Again, was that offensive? I don't really get what the standard for offensiveness is anymore in America! In the PG-era of WWE, this was the only such statement, said in character about another individual in character, and a big deal is made about it? How is this bullying? Actors (excuse me, SUPERSTARS) saying lines to other actors is not bullying.

John Cena should apologize himself too. It doesn't matter if the writers and producers wrote that into his script, he still said it.

As for your question, I am not sure who said that taunting a female regarding weight issues was less offensive. It is just as offensive. I believe WWE just doesn't care about the criticism unless they get called out on it by a large social group such as GLAAD who have the means to spread the word about it. Especially in the internet age.

my whole thing w/ this is why is this such a huge issue NOW wen he was doin those kinds of jokes wen he had the rapper gimmick on a regular basis? to my knowledge and recollection, nobody had such an issue or a problem about it then. if that's so, then i think that if it's this much of a problem, then people should have expressed it then wen it first started then waitin 7 years later to say something.

not tryin to completely bash GLAAD for speaking up, but there's that issue also in which of wat i just said.

I think it is not as bad for heels to use these derogatory comments to get heat, but for a face like Cena to do it is problematic. I think pro wrestling uses a lot of homophobic and misogynistic material, but one thing that can work in using it is to put the faces over the heels that do it. I would hate Orlando Jordan less if he were a face and someone like Bully Ray attack him strickly because of his sexuality.

To answer Eck's question, because there's no GLAAD-type group speaking for overweight people to call WWE out on it.

But also, being gay isn't something you have any choice about. Being overweight is something most of us have some control over, despite the excuses many people make.

GLAAD needs to repent. True, no one should be teased, but their lifestyle is sinful.

There was nothing wrong with the cena rap people are just being picky its pathetic if someone called me gay i would just laugh plus doesnt the word gay really mean happy???

Hi Kevin...I just wrote about this on Bleacher Report. Ultimately, my opinion in sum is that GLAAD cannot change a hypermasculine sport. And WWE's hypermasculine ideology (which includes standing up to bullies and embracing masculinity) completely contradicts any message that GLAAD supports. I just don't see it working without hypocrisy playing a role.
I completely agree with you about the overweight issue. In fact, (and probably due to my own biases, considering I am not gay and am female), I view this issue as more important. Homosexuality is in many cases (I've seen this with my own eyes) a fad. It's the "in" thing. Yet, being overweight is not. I hate it when the superstars and divas taunt a female for not being a beanpole. I think that sends a horrible message about beauty.

It's not equally offensive because overweight people aren't and haven't been subjected to the same kinds of bias and discrimination as gays have. There are still places in this country where you can be fired for being gay. Suicide among gay teens is at an alarmingly high level. Gays are subjected to purposefully oppressive legislation in the majority of states. Does the overweight face anything similar?

You can make the comparison, but asking why the two kinds of insults are not equivalent is just plain ignorant.

RESPONSE FROM KE: The issue GLAAD raised was about bullying and sending a bad message to kids. Overweight kids do get picked, and average-sized women in WWE being ridiculed for being "fat" obviously sends a bad message.

Are you kidding me? Really? REALLY? This is the most childish thing in the entire world, if people can't take it then don't watch it. Jeez. It's Attitude Era stuff, bring some more in. Look, just because Cena said "pearl necklace", IMO was funny as crap, I don't think he meant anything by it. Just old school rap. Grow up.

Why is everyone so worried about that? Get over it! THe world is falling apart and you are worried about what John Cena and the WWE! No offense to the GLAAD but who cares? It's a disbute and drama to make good tv! Why are people worried about this when there are real problems???? John Cena is very well respected by everyone and this little thing is an issue?

Since when is professional wrestling supposed to be politically correct? This is offensive to me as a wrestling fan!

"My question, however, is this: Why is it not equally offensive for WWE female characters to be taunted for being overweight?" Who said it isn't?

WWE's aim should be to make the world a better, rather than worse, place.

WWE's modeling bullying, including relative to being gay, or to being overweight, makes the world a worse place.

It specifically can make some young people's lives a living hell.

Judging by your commenters on here, I'd say there are people who are offended. That's not what GLAAD does, though.

Normally when advocacy groups go after pro-wrestling, I roll my eyes and wish them off my proverbial yard, but given that the WWE has explicitly directed the product toward the under-18 demographic, I think they do have a responsibility to think twice before pouring out anti-gay promos.

Here's a bad message for kids: Blood is bad, but an overweight chick with a drinking problem and a potty mouth is OK.

WWE might as well call Snooki "ODB" and not even care about a copyright infringement lawsuit.

I'm gay but people are much too sensitive. I don't see how his comments were offensive AT ALL. Wrestling is kinda homoerotic anyway.....

Cena is always running his big mouth. I never have liked him. I don't think he is all that popular with "fans" either.

No big special interest group for fat people.

A wrestler, a guy who grabs other guys in their underwear for a living, is cracking on another wrestler for being gay. The irony.

cena's promo's when he was trying to rap have often had the whole 'you're gay, that's bad' type theme to it. it probably only got the attention of glaad because of the rock

you get the feeling cena's trying to be the superhero for the kids, but some of the stuff he says, scripted or not just goes completely against it.

it's not hard to be PC and still be edgy, bunch of hetero's complaining about complaining, nice

Would people please stop referring to that promo as rap/hip hop. Its a huge insult to hip hop. There was no beat and the guy took like a minute between each punch line. That sure as hell isn't freestyling/rapping. As for the actual topic, I was surprised that Mr clean cut American hero Cena resorted to gay jokes. How are the gay members of his "cenation" (what a stupid name) supposed to feel? This whole situation just re-emphasizes how much Cena sucks. Can't stand the guy

You are not born fat...while there can be conditions that can cause uncontrollable weight gain that percentage is incredibly low like 10,000 in 300 million or some can have metabolic disorders related to their thyroid but medications treats this rather effectively...otherwise you are not born fat, just lazy, that you can make fun of

ugh... the gay and lesbian alliance can go screw themselves... most gay and lesbian people i met have said 1 thing about that and often compare to this statement.

"they remind me of jesse jackson and al sharpton, everytime we take a step forward, something happens and they want to take it back to the 60's"


if you can't laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at" is OK to mock and ridicule Christians during the whole HBK vs. Vinnie Mac "God War" story...just don't make a reference that most children under the age of 14 would not understand. This is beyond being PC. This sounds like bullying by GLAAD and not WWE. If the average wrestiling fan would dissect each week's TV content for their approval...WWE would now be rated G, not PG!!

Grow up Vince and take a stand!!!

Heres an idea for parents stop letting tv raise your kids. WWE has used stereotypes for years even as recently as Umaga (RIP). Don't blame famous people because your bad parents.

To anyone espousing the smug "if you don't like it, don't watch it" line, I'm sorry that you really can't grasp the issue here.

You're actually admitting that WWE is for gay-bashers, so anyone who isn't anti-gay shouldn't watch. That's very sad.

And although gay or overweight kids can certainly change the channel, that obviously has no effect on their bullies.

We all know WWE is a kid-oriented now, yet no one seems to care that the company's top good-guy keeps telling its impressionable audience that being gay is weak and wrong.

The problem is that WWE is PG and markets itself as family entertainment. If it was the attitude era, they would have just told GLAD to "suck it."....err, bad choice of catch phrases. The person saying it was John Cena, who it the most popular wrestler for ten year olds and he is the face of the PG, family company. If WWE wants to be PG they cannot do anything like this, however, if they wanted to go back to be edgy and aimed at an adult audience than they could do whatever they want. Just imagine if they said this on Spongebob as both shows are now aimed at a similar demographic.

Also why is it okay to pick on a diva for weight issues? I don't think weight issues falls under GLAD's umbrella. Not saying its right, but that would up to a eating disorder special interest group to take issue with.

It seems that leading up to Wrestlemania, WWE is getting loose with its PG standards in hopes of getting a higher buyrate for the PPV. I am sure after WM, Cena will go back to making the "poopy" jokes we all love him for. Or, next time Linda runs for political office, I am sure we will not be seeing any homophobic jokes.

This really is quite pathetic. Just get over it, otherwise we'll be going back to the WCW approach of not being able to say the word "hate"

Here is what the WWE said about the fans they value.

“WWE takes this issue very seriously, and has already spoken with our talent about these incidents. We are taking steps and working with GLAAD to ensure that our fans know that WWE is against bullying or discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We strongly value our fans in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and apologize to them for these incidents.”

I guess they DON'T value straight fans, according to their statement

Never fails to surprise me how ignorant some people on here are. Bullying is wrong, full stop. Completely agree with your article kev

You know this crap has to stop. The lesbians and homosexuals want to be like everyone else but then get offended when someone says something in a joking manner.

Get the hell over it!!!

I'm polish, if I got mad everytime I heard a Polish joke I'd be a nutcase!!!

Your gay, your a lesbian, who gives a rats butt. You bring the attention on yourselves.

So now no one can say the word "Brokeback" because it has gay connotations??? Grow up!!

I'm tired of all these people whinning...

I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you that 12-year-old male wrestling fans think GLAAD is in the wrong here. But seriously GLAAD how else do you expect us to communicate on online forums or via Xbox Live without using homophobic or racial slurs?! IT'S IMPOSSIBLE.

So WWE openly acknowledges that something one of there characters said, while in character, could or would influence children. What about the simulated violence? I think, at most, John Cena, should make a statement (in character) and leave the front office out of it.

Tried to sit and watch paint dry and watch grass grow but I offended the boring coalition. Enough is enough! Turn the channel!

In that case, NAMBLA should be involved with the booking of Justin Bieber at Wreslemania...

"But also, being gay isn't something you have any choice about."
@Snyder...Prove it.

Have you seen this video with John Cena? He seems like a nice guy....

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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