For WWE, image is everything.
While it first seemed that the company would let Lars Sullivan off without consequence for his controversial comments from the past, it would appear things have taken a different turn. According to various news outlets, the company has taken action and fined Sullivan $100,000.
Related: WWE Fines Lars Sullivan $100,000
WWE would send an email which stated the following regarding the Sullivan situation:
“WWE supports a culture of inclusion regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, and we are committed to embracing all individuals as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.
Dylan Miley (aka Lars Sullivan) will be fined $100,000 and required to complete sensitivity training for offensive commentary uncovered from his past. WWE will also facilitate meetings for Dylan with community organizations to foster further discussion around the power of social media and the impact of your words.”
This isn’t the first time WWE has had to navigate the waters as far as bigotry is concerned. While the company re-signed Hulk Hogan and continues to deal with Saudi Arabia, including an upcoming show set to take place in June, they got this one right.
With Hogan, the company severed ties before eventually re-hiring him and re-incorporating him into the fold. This was certainly action taken against a Legend of the industry and sent a message to those involved with WWE, but it didn’t really answer how WWE would handle active competitors.
Hiring Hogan again also came with significant backlash from fans, media sources and even wrestlers both currently on the roster and former stars who worked for the company.
With Sullivan, WWE had to handle this situation properly.
WWE Handles Sullivan Situation Accordingly
While Sullivan may have appeared to have gotten off with a slap on the wrist, his actions from years ago would catch up to him and make him the perfect person for WWE to make an example of.
It isn’t a personal attack on Sullivan as he would have been around 18 or 19 years old when he made (numerous) comments that were discriminatory in many ways. Instead, this was a way for WWE to get things right once and for all.
Unfortunately for Sullivan, who released an apology prior to this fine via social media, he will now have to deal with the consequences of his words both financially and among his peers in the WWE locker room. Fellow WWE superstar Big E would allude to this on Twitter.
Actions have consequences and Sullivan is now paying the price figuratively and literally for what he said in the past.
In a perfect world, Sullivan has changed and will take this as a valuable learning mechanism to make him a better person moving forward. This world isn’t perfect, though, and expecting people to be perfect is simply unreasonable. Still, Sullivan has a chance to turn a new leaf with this outcome.
More importantly, though, WWE has now set a precedent for any situation like this that may occur in the future. If a superstar makes any sort of disparaging comments regarding race, sex, gender or the like, WWE has an obligation to handle the situation swiftly once all the details have been unraveled.
Answering for every single thing that was said in the past can be exhausting, but people must still be accountable for their actions. This is especially true for WWE Superstars who represent WWE, a company backed by sponsors who demand answers when situations like this arise.
Sullivan’s Push the New Topic of Discussion
WWE has seemed to be 100% behind Sullivan as far as his wrestling character is concerned. While this act is nothing new, WWE has always thrived with at least one major monster character in their ranks.
Braun Strowman has already taken on that moniker in WWE thus far but Sullivan just feels different. While Braun has developed a personality throughout his tenure in WWE, the best bet for Sullivan will be to keep him simple while maintaining this dominance.
With this latest circus that surrounds him, though, it’ll be interesting to see if WWE not only fines him but also limits his push that, as mentioned, they’ve seemingly been keen on for a while.
Only time will tell.