Darren Young made headlines when he became the first openly gay, active WWE competitor in August, 2013. Young is now making headlines for being critical of the WWE’s decision to tour Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi, which is the second largest city in the United Arab Emirates, has laws that make being a homosexual a crime that is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. One famous case in 2005 involved 26 homosexual men getting a 5 year jail sentence after being arrested for engaging in cross-dressing and homosexual acts at a Abu Dhabi hotel.
WWE will be holding three shows in Abu Dhabi this week, as the company runs the Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium on Thursday (February 12), Friday (February 13), and Saturday (February 14). Darren Young is not booked for the tour.
This is not the first time WWE has held shows in Abu Dhabi. The company ran three events in the city in February, 2012. Darren Young was wrestling in the WWE at the time, but he was not a participant on that tour, either.
Young originally tweeted out his frustration with the WWE’s touring decision early Tuesday. Young’s original tweet has since been deleted, but the full text of the tweet is still available online.
Why do we bring the best entertainment into a country like abu dhabi and they look down upon women and gays? I get it! #MillionsofDollars
— nodaysoff D-Young (@DarrenYoungWWE)
Soon after he removed the original tweet, it became quite clear that Darren Young was told by WWE officials to remove the tweet. Young continued to voice his concerns on his Twitter account, despite the fact that he complied with WWE’s request to remove his original tweet that was critical of the company’s tour. Young spoke of feeling like his rights as an American citizen had been violated.
My freedom of speech is gone. Gone but not forgotten.
— nodaysoff D-Young (@DarrenYoungWWE) February 11, 2015
Young continued voicing his frustrations on his Twitter account Tuesday evening, and some former WWE stars voiced their support for him in return.
“@DarrenYoungWWE: I feel like no none has my back and it upsets me. The struggle is real. I'm human.” You've got people in your corner
— Lance Storm (@LanceStorm) February 11, 2015
@DarrenYoungWWE 1 more right here that has your back!
— Sean Waltman (@TheRealXPac) February 11, 2015
Late Tuesday evening, WWE issued a response to Darren Young’s statements.
“WWE does not discriminate against individuals regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation, and we continue to proudly support Fred Rosser (aka WWE Superstar Darren Young) for being open about his sexuality.
Unfortunately, WWE cannot change cultures and laws around the world, and thus we did not send Fred Rosser to the United Arab Emirates for our upcoming events for his own protection.
WWE also fully supports Fred Rosser’s right to express his views on personal social media accounts rather than WWE’s corporate platforms.”
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