WWE superstar and current champion Jinder Mahal is facing some controversy after uttering racial slurs against challenger Shinsuke Nakamura. Mahal, of Indian descent, showed some bad taste when he used racial slurs to poke fun at his Japanese opponent and fans at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, were not pleased.
The 6-foot-5 Mahal, dressed in a brown suit and black turban, entered the ring during Smackdown Live on Tuesday to promote his title defense against Nakamura, the popular Japanese wrestler. Mahal, who came with a couple of sidekicks, the Singh Brothers, took the microphone and proceeded to make fun of Nakamura. Mahal showed a couple of photos of Nakamura sporting the same facial expressions while the Singh Brothers rolled on the mat in laughter.
“You always ‘rook’ the same,” said Mahal.
Mahal went on to say that Nakamura gets his haircut by a dog groomer. Jinder continued mocking the Kyoto native by saying that fans really don’t like Nakamura, who is considered a fan favorite. Mahal then said that the so-called fans call Nakamura “Mr. Miyagi” behind his back.
The Singh Brothers made things worse by laughing hysterically while performing some mock martial arts moves including the “wax on, wax off” gesture popularized by the film The Karate Kid in which Mr. Miyagi, played by the late Pat Morita, was one of the main characters.
The racial jokes immediately prompted disgusted fans watching the WWE Smackdown Live to show their displeasure at Mahal.
The crowd chanted in unison, “That’s too far!”
Some fans were also heard shouting, “that’s racist!” at Mahal. The fans at the Oracle Arena weren’t the only ones who did not find the racist script amusing. A number of viewers voiced their displeasure through social media.
Even Nakamura himself took to Twitter to address the issue.
WWE has addressed the issue regarding the wrestling villain’s racial jokes against Nakamura. The Washington Post reported that WWE sent them a statement explaining that, “Just like many other TV shows or movies, WWE creates programming with fictional personalities that cover real world issues and sensitive subjects.”
“As a producer of such TV shows, WWE Corporate is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide,” the statement continued.
Interestingly, the Washington Post pointed out that WWE used the same line of reasoning in firing its marquee star, Hulk Hogan. The legendary wrestler was fired by WWE in 2015 after he was recorded on his sex tape uttering racist comments. Hogan used racial slurs to refer to African American wrestlers.
[Featured Image by Jim R. Bounds/AP Images]