Is anyone listening?
While TNA were asking fans to join them in order to help donate cash to Haiti following the devastating earthquake, Bubba the Love Sponge, TNA’s newest announcer, might have been publicly not in line with his employer. On his Twitter page, Bubba spoke of the crisis, saying:
“I say f--- Haiti [sic]. Why do we have to take care of everybody our country is in shambles. Bubba”
Of course, this being the Internet, the remark has quickly spread. A Facebook page dedicated to Bubba’s firing has already been set up, and reports of TNA fans tweeting TNA Chairman Dixie Carter about the remark have surfaced.
Further problems have ensued. Online fans who tweeted Dixie Carter have claimed that members of Bubba’s audience, the “Bubba Army” have taken to harassing these fans. Certain Bubba fans have dismissed the claims, going on to insult those people.
First off, I have never listened to Bubba’s show, nor do I plan to in the foreseeable future. As such, I will not purport to know the content and remarks that are regularly aired.
Also, many Bubba fans and neutrals feel that reprimanding Bubba for his remarks would be in direct contravention of the right to Freedom of Speech. Let me say that they do have a valid point, however callous the remark in question may be.
I do wish Bubba and those who share his opinion would rethink their stance; USA received millions in aid from a plethora of countries during Katrina, including Kuwait, China, India, Pakistan, and more. Cuba and Venezuela even offered aid. However, this is not the place for a political debate, so I will not engage in that.
The question I ask of other wrestling fans is what do you think TNA should do? We’ve heard claims that WWE have issued restrictions on the nature and timing of comments their stars can air through Twitter.
In TNA itself, Vince Russo’s Facebook page has received perhaps too much attention from Internet wrestling critics who are glad they can finally engaged in heated debates with. How does a wrestling company deal with this?
This case makes for particular interest because while TNA confirmed a fund-raising campaign for those in Haiti during this week's TNA Impact tapings in Orlando, one of their own employees spoke out against helping Haiti.
So far, TNA have remained mum on the issue. Edits to Bubba’s Wikipedia page claim he was suspended, but so far we have no proof of that statement.
Dixie Carter has steadily increased her involvement of the promotion of TNA Wrestling on Twitter over the past few months. She has been very receptive of fan feedback up to this point, now she might have to answer to those fans.
Interviews with stars have been screened for most of the past decade, but with the advent of Twitter and Facebook, pro wrestlers and staff are much closer to the audience than ever before in terms of communication.
Should the companies allow it? Or should they take serious measures to safeguard company image?
UPDATE: Bubba the Love Sponge has gone from saying TNA isn't ready for him while questioning the link between his Haiti comment and TNA, to now stating that he is SORRY to those he offended. Interesting turn of events, over the past 48 hours.