AW's Blunder, Lord Tensai's Racist Remarks and WWE's Social Media Risks Exposed
The WWE is currently battling a bout of bad press after two painfully awkward gaffes made by two different WWE superstars in the same week.
AW began the faux pas relay this past Monday while wearing a live microphone, as he is known to do, during the singles match between Titus O'Neil and Kofi Kingston. AW's ill-advised joke about the 2003 Kobe Bryant rape trial forced heel-leaning commentator Michael Cole to apologize for the remark upon returning from commercial break following that segment.
The very next day, Tensai's rough comeback tour only became more complicated when he posted a racially insensitive Tout in character, where he mocked his manager Sakomoto's driving ability while telling him to "open [his] eyes."
With Linda McMahon recently announcing her intentions to run for senate for a second time, scrutiny on the WWE product is once again magnified, so the steady stream of very public miscues by WWE superstars hurts the TV-PG promotion that much more.
While AW did not need social media for his blunder, The WWE is now learning the dangers of their ongoing infusion of social media given the locker room culture of foul-mouthed, predominantly uneducated professional wrestlers.
With so much growing access to platforms where these public figures are connecting with the WWE fanbase, each WWE superstar or diva is one perfectly deletable post away from becoming a headline, and, as a result, part of the problem.
The aforementioned Michael Cole learned this the hard way when he tweeted a homophobic slur in reference to colleague Josh Mathews.
Recently released performer/producer Goldust also came under fire from WWE officials when he publicly blocked Twitter followers who did not share his religious beliefs.
With the rise of Tout—a video-blogging service frequented by WWE personnel—the popular "somebody hacked my Twitter" excuse is no longer valid, and social awareness must be preached now more than ever.
The WWE has taken the right steps to minimize incidents such a those with AW and Tensai, as they have conducted various social-media training sessions to ensure that WWE talent are using services like Facebook, Twitter and Tout properly.
For the most part, social-media blunders have been quite limited in the WWE with most individuals making proper use of these tools to further storylines, character development etc.
However, the isolated incidents that garner mainstream attention will always be a bigger story than what is being done properly. Hopefully, the backlash incurred from this week's gaffes can act as yet another universal lesson that everybody is always watching.
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