Veteran wrestler Austin Aries, who has compiled notable stints in multiple promotions — including WWE, Impact Wrestling, and Ring of Honor — released a statement denying various accusations of sexual misconduct that were recently made against him.
In his statement, which was posted on Twitter on Tuesday morning, Aries said that he is glad people have started addressing the “long-standing, not-so-secret dirty secrets” of sexual abuse in the wrestling industry via the #SpeakingOut movement. The 42-year-old acknowledged that he hasn’t lived a “flawless” life and has made his share of mistakes in the business but stressed that he isn’t a sexual predator, user, or abuser of any kind. He also stressed that it’s especially important these days to separate his real persona from the usually villainous character he portrays in the ring.
The wrestler, whose real name is Daniel Healy Solwold Jr., concluded his statement by saying that he’s “all in” when it comes to fostering a safer environment for wrestlers. He added that if he was ever “part of the problem,” being “part of the solution” is the best way for him to express his apologies.
— Austin Healy Aries (@AustinAries) June 23, 2020
As compiled by WrestlingNews.co, Aries faced multiple accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior prior to issuing the statement. These included one from a woman who related an incident from 2010 when Aries and another male wrestler spent the night at the studio apartment where she was staying with a female friend.
“The agreement was boys on the floor and girls in the bed. After lights out, Aries crawled into the bed between us. At one point he put his hand on my thigh but I pushed it off,” read the post, which came from a Twitter user who has since deactivated her account.
“He’s creepy, he’s been creepy, he will always be creepy.”
WrestlingNews.co also noted that Aries did not mention any of the specific allegations in his statement, nor did he address the time in 2013 when, during an Impact Wrestling broadcast, he posed with his crotch right in front of ring announcer Christy Hemme’s face.
In addition to the above claims, a woman who chose to remain anonymous shared her own accusations about Aries to the PW Truth Project Twitter account on Tuesday evening, as seen here. While she did not specify when the incident took place, she wrote that Aries got her drunk at a party and later forced himself on her when they were in his room.
As of this writing, Aries has yet to respond to the most recent allegation.
While Aries is currently a free agent, several wrestlers signed to major companies have been fired by their employers after being implicated in the #SpeakingOut movement. These include Impact Wrestling’s Joey Ryan and Dave Crist and WWE’s Jack Gallagher, the latter of whom was also reportedly deleted from his former employer’s website right after his release.