The JBL bullying scandal seems to be something the WWE doesn’t seem to care much about. Mauro Ranallo has signed off from the WWE, and his lack of comments make it look like he has signed a confidentiality agreement to work outside the WWE until his contract comes to an end in August. However, on this week’s episode of the WWE Network series Bring it to the Table, JBL continued to make comments that angered a number of people due to his lack of sensitivity.
JBL was in heel mode when he was talking about popular SmackDown Live wrestler Sami Zayn. JBL was telling co-hosts Corey Graves and Peter Rosenberg that Sami Zayn was not one of his favorite wrestlers and then made jokes about things he would rather do than hang out with Sami.
“I’d rather be waterboarded than to sit down and talk [pro] wrestling with Sami Zayn. I would rather be captured by ISIS than have to have dinner with Sami Zayn.”
While that seems like he’s making references to current trends, there is more to it than that. In an interview with Yahoo News from back in 2015, Zayn said he was born in Canada but his parents were both Syrian and moved to Canada in the ’70s.
Sami Zayn said he was raised in a 100-percent Arab house and is very much an Arab when it comes to his culture and religion.
“I use it [Arabic] less and less with my parents these days, since I live away from them here in Orlando, near the Performance Center and I don’t practice it that much anymore. However, I do feel a 100% connected to the Arab audience.”
Sami Zayn also said in an interview with ESPN that he is working hard against the demonization of Muslims. Zayn was outspoken when it came to the Donald Trump-ordered ban of travelers from Muslim-majority nations earlier this year, which included Zayn’s parent’s home country of Syria.
Zayn said that it was important to him when he got signed to the WWE on a platform that big to educate people on the fallacies on how Muslims are viewed in America. Sami said the stereotypes are wrong and they are not that different than anyone else in the country.
However, making a joke about Sami Zayn and mentioning ISIS and waterboarding might be considered bad taste by many people. Twitter was flooded with comments by fans who seemed shocked that JBL would make an ISIS joke when talking about a Muslim professional wrestler in the WWE, specifically one whose family came from Syria.
It also seems to be bad timing since this week saw the United States earn a slight victory over ISIS in Syria where 70 members of the terrorist organization just surrendered to the U.S.-led coalition in Tabqah on Wednesday. In a time where racism and hatred are rising, it seems like the WWE would want to avoid these sort of comments by their talent.
The JBL comment might have been overlooked if not for recent problems that arose with former commentator Mauro Ranallo as well as many other wrestlers speaking out against JBL for bullying and, in some cases, harassment in the workplace.
Unfortunately, on the same episode of Bring it to the Table, all three hosts poked fun at the Mauro Ranallo situation with JBL. Peter Rosenberg said there was controversy surrounding comments that he made about Roman Reigns. Corey Graves said there was also controversy about comments he made about Shane McMahon.
When the cameras went to JBL, and the wrestling world is still talking about what JBL said about Mauro Ranallo, JBL just tried to look guilty before changing the subject. Instead, JBL talked about a golf game he played the week before and ignored the bullying controversy completely.
[Featured Image by WWE]