Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Money Talks: A Fiduciary Argument Against Harassment (For Fuck's Sake)

This guy wants you to harass people. This guy. For crying out loud.
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Wrestling is an incredible live experience, and the best of shows can leave people breathless in the best of ways possible. However, people still insist on making life hell for other fans based on their demographics. Even the best shows that leave some fans breathless in a good way will leave others alienated, scared, and even predated. The 2017 Scenic City Invitational, which was by all accounts a smashing event, had an incident of a fan creepshotting on Anthony Henry's girlfriend without her knowledge or consent. This act in and of itself was abhorrent and violating of fans' safety. I'm sure Henry's girlfriend just wanted to go to the show to support her beau and not become an unwitting piece of evidence into the existence and active acceptance of rape culture in Western society. The worst thing is that people IN THE BUSINESS, including CWF Mid-Atlantic booker/commentator Brad Stutts liking that original tweet and then brushing it off as if it were a complaint about spilled beverage when called out upon it.

Whether or not it was intentional, Glenn "Disco Inferno" Gilberti doubled down on the inflammation by tweeting for people to send him pictures of hot women at wrestling shows in exchange for a shoutout on his podcast. When called out upon it, he gave a classic "I was only joking" non-apology, and then remarked at how "Twitter" was too easily triggered, as if getting mad isn't a valid human response. These last couple of days have shown that wrestling fans and the industry that fosters them still has a giant harassment problem, and it's not going away overnight.

Of course, with the bad comes the good. The most fatherly father figure on Twitter (not me, dorks), Mike Hales, took to decrying all harassment on any level. He also announced he would be promoting a women's wrestling tournament with strict guidelines on fan behavior. It was seen as refreshing, but the fact that it people thought it to be a breath of fresh air is infuriating. Why do Papa Hales or I or any other of the number of decent people have to keep repeating ourselves in seemingly futile attempts to make the wrestling arena a safe place for fans of all demographics?

I don't understand how excluding fans makes the live experience better. I don't understand how people in the business would want to chase away anyone. Even if you strip the basic humanity away from any argument against creepshotting and harassment, those people have money that's just as good as the cash coming from the asswipes creating toxicity. In fact, one fan attempting to gatekeep and gawk and harass will end up keeping multiple other fans, either directly by turning fans off from going to the next show or indirectly by reinforcing negative stereotypes of wrestling, especially indie wrestling, and keeping people from checking a promotion out. Harassment keeps money out of the hands of promoters and wrestlers alike, so why implicitly endorse it the way that Stutts and Gilberti, among others, have?

It's a sleazy, hyper-capitalist argument, but it would appear appealing to the humanity of people who make wolf-eyes or espouse racist ideology is futile since these people seem to have misplaced theirs at the very least. I mean, some rando doofus replied "How much have you drawn in the wrestling business?" to me when I called out Gilberti, as if that number is significantly lower than the amount of money someone paid to see Disco Inferno. I mean, the dude has spent a career riding coattails in WCW, but that's not the point. Money to these ghouls is the only metric, so sadly, it's what one has to use to try to get people not chase away fans because they're not cishet White males.