Is John Cena Homophobic?By RichFlynn · · 62 Comments
On the 02/28/11 edition of Monday Night RAW, John Cena said the following to The Miz regarding his apprentice, Alex Riley:
‘I mean, come on. With all these accomplishments, do you really want to look back years from now and realise you shared your legacy with another man? … Okay, then maybe your shocking announcement can be this: Now The Miz and Alex Riley are co-champions, and to celebrate they’re gonna move in together. They’re gonna buy one of those tandem bikes, and ride it to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy some duvets. And every evening, they’re gonna relax with a glass of warm Pinot Noir and watch The Notebook… or reruns of last season’s The Bachelor. I tell you what. You know what? You’re working on being a mentor to him, you’re tryin’ to train him on how to be a loser, well, tonight I’m gonna train you on how to be a man.’
The week before, Cena replied to The Rock’s disparaging comments about him with a rap that included the line, ‘Just don’t go racin’ to Witch Mountain, Rock, cos your mountain is Brokeback.’ He also referred to The Rock as a ‘fairy,’ and called him out for wearing lipstick and a dress in one of his movie roles.
And, back in August 2010, during a segment where he verbally insulted the members of Nexus one by one, Cena’s sole comment on Justin Gabriel was an insinuation that he was gay.
When I mentioned John Cena’s rap during my most recent SmackDown! recap here on BoredWrestlingFan, I was hesitant to mention it at all – I didn’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill. I made sure to point out at the time that I was probably just overreacting.
This week, however, I feel justified in calling him out.
Professional wrestling’s attitudes towards homosexuality is something I have wanted to write about for a very long time. Such a broad and sensitive subject would take a great deal of time, dedication and research to justify, and it’s something I hope to get round to sometime in the future.
In the meantime, I feel compelled to comment on what John Cena has been saying. I ran a quick Google search prior to writing this, and was surprised at how little has been posted online regarding this topic.
Perhaps most folks have simply shrugged it off – it’s just a bit of banter, right? John didn’t call The Miz and Riley ‘faggots,’ or anything like that. So what’s the problem?
My point is this: No person in the WWE would be allowed to issue – or get away with – disparaging comments about the colour of someone’s skin, regardless of how casual or passive those comments may be. It simply wouldn’t happen. Moreover, nobody would even THINK about doing so on-air – it would cause outrage!
So why, then, is it okay for the face of this global entertainment franchise to repeatedly use homosexuality as an insult on live television?
Some people may criticise me for likening the seriousness of Cena’s comments to racism – but those people are missing the point. Ignorance is ignorance. Prejudice is prejudice. Wrong is wrong.
I would consider myself a relatively well-adjusted gay man. Sure, like all queer kids, I had my problems growing up – but when it comes to my sexuality, I’m comfortable in the skin I’m in. I’m also far from being militant about gay rights – I don’t even see the point or benefit of gay pride parades and the like. I also think everyone has to have a sense of humour about themselves.
I’m just a regular guy, who happens to be gay. Yet Cena’s comments on RAW made me feel deeply uncomfortable.
If it had such an impact on myself, I have to wonder how it affected all the sexually confused kids out there. Like it or not, John Cena is perceived as a role model for children. And when you consider recent events in the US, his timing could not have been much worse.
America has a big problem on its hands when it comes to gay teen suicides. After a number of young men killed themselves in September 2010, gay author and journalist Dan Savage founded the It Gets Better project. Its aim was to get people to speak out, to let LGBT youths know that their life wouldn’t always be mired in confusion or bullying – that suicide is not the right solution. Its message spread like wildfire through the world of social media, and has so far seen over 200,000 people adding their voices to the campaign, including a huge number of celebrities. Even President Obama issued a video on his YouTube channel.
For a company who are so keen to brag about how socially active they are, I have yet to see any evidence of the WWE adding its voice to It Gets Better – but that’s besides the point.
How can a company which purports to be family-friendly justify Cena’s approach? Simple answer: It can’t. There’s no excuse. Tired stereotypes aside, the simple fact is this – words are powerful, and reinforcing the idea to an impressionable audience that homosexuality is something to be laughed about is, quite frankly, dangerous.
Children should be taught that people are not to be judged by their race, creed, colour or sexuality. To suggest otherwise is inherently wrong.
When Justin Bieber was interviewed for Rolling Stone recently, it caused a fair bit of controversy – the teen pop star had been quizzed about his views on gay marriage and abortion. I was critical of the article – not because of what he said, but simply because Justin Bieber’s opinion on gay rights or abortion has no relevance whatsoever!
Kids don’t buy Bieber’s CDs because they really dig his outlook on social issues. They’re buying into a product; a manufactured, plastic, processed product. Bringing such political and divisive topics into the mix is never a good idea.
The same, I feel, can be said about the WWE and its cast of characters.
Is John Cena homophobic? I don’t know, and I don’t particularly care. But I do have a problem with him bringing this kind of dialogue into his on-screen persona. The man has years of experience, and a team of writers behind him – if he can’t come up with material other than poop jokes or calling people gay, then I genuinely dispair.
It’s 2011, folks.
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