WWE racist accusations are once again flying after the company allegedly made what could be construed as a racially offensive advertising move.
A new rumor indicates the company is trying to “window-dress” their promotional materials in the run up to WrestleMania 31.
The rumor, reported by Cageside Seats, states that Mark Henry appearing in WrestleMania 31 ads is happening because WWE wants to “make sure someone of his race” was in it.
While on the one hand, it’s good the company has a greater awareness of its racial representations, on another, some fans find it insulting to Mark Henry and black WWE wrestlers in general.
In the history of the company, there has been only one African-American heavyweight champion — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — and some, like Huffington Post’s Marc Lamont Hill, have criticized that in the sense that The Rock is half-black, half-Samoan.
Alberto Del Rio (aka El Patron) lashed out pretty hard at the company earlier this year with WWE racist accusations in the wake of his firing. Del Rio struck a social media manager for the company who reportedly made repeated offensive jokes about his Hispanic heritage in front of witnesses.
Del Rio has since reached a “mutually beneficial” settlement with the company and agreed to stop talking negatively about them.
Mark Henry himself has also been the subject of past racism in the WWE, though he continues to defend his employer. In a July 2014 interview with Hill, Henry addressed the time that WWE tried packaging him as “Silverback,” a reference to silverback gorillas.
“A lot of people remember the Silverback thing… Honestly, I could not do it. I told them: ‘I can’t do that. I got two little black kids at home.'”
Thankfully, the company relented on that one, but it just shows a history and progression of how WWE can make some short-sighted decisions with regard to race and playing to its diverse fan base.
If it is true that Mark Henry is only appearing in WrestleMania 31 advertising as “window-dressing,” then for many, it shows that Vince McMahon and company still have a long way to go to connect in an authentic and racially sensitive manner with this side of their fan base.
What do you think about the new rumor?
Is the WWE racist in trying to, what some have accused, “find their token black,” or are they legitimately trying to be more conscientious with regards to multiracial representation?