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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It is about time more people started calling WWE out on this. It is utterly ridiculous that WWE continues to do this sort of thing – with their top draw, no less! – and thinks it is still amusing or relevant in any way.
Thanks, mate. I'm glad there're others who are with me on this issue… Wasn't sure how people would respond!
You consider Jamie Kennedy a friend and think that you're well-adjusted????
Seriously, very well-said, my friend. This is a subject that greatly needs further addressing. While I don't personally think that John Cena the man is homophobic, it ultimately doesn't matter. As you said, when the public face of the company and the number one good guy in a product directed at kids says things like that, he's teaching a whole generation to hate. Period. Cena can't get through a promo, be it the goofy PG sort or the edgy "Doctor of Thuganomics" sort, without homophobic "humor." Take that and the poop jokes away, and he has very little. That's the source of my biggest problem with the guy.
Wrestling uses "gay" as a punishment all the time. Adrian Adonis was forced to become "Adorable" Adrian Adonis after he gained significant weight and angered the powers that be. Orlando Jordan's entire career has been centered around his sexuality, and in the worst possible way. He's not only presented as seriously queer (in addition to homosexual), but as a predator, constantly trying to get physical with everyone around him. As if gay and bisexual men have no standards!
My friend Arthur once said that he'd love to see a wrestler character who was a great wrestler first, and just happened to be gay. Sort of a "Yeah, I'm gay, what of it? Does that have something to do with my match?" idea, and very understated. All will be right with the world if that ever happens, but I won't hold my breath. Not as long as Vince McMahon, HHH, and Vince Russo are running things.
Hey, I did say 'relatively well-adjusted'! 😉
Thanks, DG. Yup, as I said, there's a long history of wrasslin' and homosexuality – I could write an article about Orlando Jordan's TNA gimmick alone!
The sad part is, I'm certain there's at least a few gay guys in 'the big leagues', as it were. But will we ever see a gay or bi gimmick taken seriously? I doubt it.
John's raps, at face value, are funny because he's really making comments on the movies. The wording is what's getting everyone. Using derogatory terms and using them as a joke isn't helping anyone, and sadly this isn't the first time. Off the top of my head, we have Piggie James last year and the rips on Vickie just these past couple of months. If WWE itself doesn't post an 'It Gets Better' video, then the individual Superstars should step up and do it themselves.
You're right – I hadn't considered the way Mickie James was – and Vickie still is – treated.
The 'Piggie James' line was good for generating heat, but the WWE didn't do enough to say 'this is wrong'. They could have had guys on the roster say 'I don't care if Mickie isn't a rake – she looks exactly how a woman SHOULD look!'
Given what I've just written in that article, it's safe to say I'm not exactly an authority on the Divas' attractiveness(!) but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone when I say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Mickie James's appearance!
This is an awesome post. I am so sick of wrestling using homosexuality as a negative. MMA has the same problem too. I blogged about that not too long ago. Forgive my shameless plug.
Thanks, and thanks for sharing your own blog. Your insights are very refreshing!
Yeah, I just read some stuff over there… and posted some comment love. There's a good take on the diva division at the WWE worth a read. Shamgaranath is pretty much on the same page as us over here! Maybe they'll join our Motley Crue?
Anything for a guy whose Avatar is Uncle Traveling Matt.
YES!!! Fraggle Rock!
The problem to me, stems from the top. The same people in charge, we all know who these people are, are pretty much the same folks who've been there forever. And as DG notes, the character and what he represents is certainly the issue. I am sure much of what Cena says is scripted in regards to his references to the films and leaving. That should have been the issue, not the insinuation that the Rock is gay. But the people at top obviously don't see attaching a discriminatory label to imply something negative is an issue in this case. It is odd, as the WWE has generally been decent about other superficial topics of bigotry.
There is clearly some people who find it amusing, and in power, to make fun of people's sexuality in the WWE. I keep coming back to this… and for a good reason. I was listening to Review-A-Wei about the No Way Out 2003 PPV. They spoke a little about the chair shot in the video I will post below in this response… and the issues of unprotected headshots and concussions. There was this program with the Undertaker and the Big Show… with Paul Heyman. They continued to run an angle where the Undertaker received presents each week, and in one particular week he received Kanyon. In this video you will see the unprotected chairshot.
But that's not why I mention it, or post the video. No, rather because of a couple related things to "the people on top." See, Kanyon had NOT come out openly about himself being gay at this time. However, this was known backstage. They dressed him up as Boy George, and had him sing the refrain, "Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?" Let's just cut to the chase here, because they could have picked ANY singer… if even bother having him dress up at all.
Result? Kanyon eventually comes out. Kanyon loses his job around the same time. Kanyon commits suicide shortly there after (which sadly ties into Rich's point about the It Gets Better social movement).
Yeah, you could also consider his history with concussions, and I won't dismiss that they are relevant. But all of this makes me think. As some of you might know, I've been calling Cena out on this issue for some weeks now since I've completely given up on the guy. Before I just hated his watered down gimmick because I am a typical old smark. Now, I see his character for what he is…. It was bad enough when he lied about leaving to hang with his mother on her birthday with the Nexus firing… or even that short backstage segment where he just grabs some dude's cell phone, tells the person on the other end "he'll call you back" and hangs up while walking away. Those are all dick moves. But the hate? A hero for children? What next?
I am kind of meandering around what I am getting at, but I think you all get it. The problem starts in Stamford.
I agree, Gee, and that's even more baffling. Especially considering Pat Patterson's high regard.
I didn't know about that Kanyon segment – that was when I had no way of watching WWE – but man, that is something else. Kanyon's still a touchy subject for me – like I said to DG regarding Orlando Jordon in TNA, I could go on about the Kanyon situation for a long time!
I took offense to Orlando Jordan "having" to be the guy refer to sexual orientation in the eliminate the hate campaign. I still am offended by that. If I edited that piece, I would have avoided every single stereotype I could to hammer the actual point of anti-bullying home that I could. Hence, preventing any obvious links to their personal life. That way, it makes it clear that the superficial shit is irrelevant. It's like having Devon bring up being black, or Bubba being white, or Eric Young being misused.
I haven't seen anything about that campaign, but you're absolutely right. One thing I love about the It Gets Better videos is it's not just flamboyant gay people who are involved – it's people on every end of the scale, gay-straight, masculine-feminine.
Also, big LOL for the EY comment.
Thank you for this, Rich. I’m proud to be able to give you a place to express your thoughts on this very sensitive issue.
I’ve expressed concerns over his use of gay jokes in his promos, but hadn’t thought about the potential ramifications of instilling hate into impressionable youths until I read this article.
This is a man who, on any given night, has 75% of sold out arenas chanting his name, most of which are young children wearing his t-shirts, and for him to imply that it’s bad to be a homosexual is a terrible thing. You may as well have him insult R-Truth with racial stereotypes and tell Eve to get back in the kitchen.
Thanks again, Rich!
No, dude, I owe you a 'thank you' for letting me ramble! I bloody love this website, I really do.
That's what bothers me the most, I think. The WWE would never delve into casual racism or sexism – so why is this any different?
Someone on a wrestling forum said that this has been an issue for a long time, so if I'm gonna hate on Cena, I should pick a better reason. Firstly, I don't hate Cena, I just hate how his character is presented. Secondly, the fact it's been going on for forever doesn't make it okay! It's lazy, it's misinformed, and it's insulting.
The comparisons of homosexuality against casual racism and sexism are seen by some people as invalid purely because the majority of people have now been socialized to believe that racism and sexism are bad. Certainly, plenty of people still exist who hold racist or sexist beliefs, or demonstrate racist or sexist behavior. Many are quite vocal and proud of it. However, despite the fact that is IS 2011 and modern society SHOULD have moved beyond caring about such things, homosexuality is still the "new kid" of discrimination in many ways.
There hasn't been a single landmark court case that resonated throughout society, like "Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education" for racism, or the Equal Rights Amendment push in the 1970s for sexism. Until comparatively recently, it was not only socially acceptable, but expected to hate and mistreat gay people. Those at the top of the food chain in Connecticut are of an age to have been raised that way. Old habits die hard, particularly when you live in a bubble, surrounded by yes-men, and are alienated from progress in popular culture and politics. When you monopolize an industry, you can entertain yourself, and that's what they do. They don't care that fans don't think it's funny, because they don't really have to.
John Cena the man may be a great human being. However, a generation of kids learning by his example that bullying is ok as long as the target is gay or fat or old or ugly should be really scary. That WWE hasn't considered this, or just doesn't care, is not surprising. Cena himself likely has enough power and pull to make a change, and if he simply refuses to, then all the Make-a-Wish Foundation appearances in the world won't balance out the pain and suffering that he causes. I hope that he can live with that.
Considering he wears a purple shirt and constantly makes gay jokes, I think he's compensating for something in his closet. 🙂
But no, honestly this was a great piece. I'm straight and not the most PC person in the world and I've always hated the way wrestling (and WWE in particular) try to make their guys seem manlier by calling the opponents gay or hinting at it. I mean wasn't that 85% of DX's material? If the best you can do is make slurs against an entire group of people as a trash talk promo, then you really have nothing to say. I mean, yeah once or twice can be funny (and if it's done cleverly, I'm sure even gay people would find it funny) but when your entire shtick is calling people gay it not only is hurtful to people who effectively pay your salary but it also shows zero creativity or talent.
But once again, great article and we can hope WWE surprises us and let's the Miz walk out of Mania with the belt after stomping Cena (ok, that's what I hope, I just hate Cena)
Yeah, one thing I'm quick to point out is this – I have a good sense of humour! I make plenty of gay jokes myself. You're right, when it's done cleverly, humour about homosexuality can be funny, without doubt. Some of my favourite comedians have dealt with the subject – it's all about tact, I guess. I just didn't want to come across as some self-serious asshole who's looking for reasons to bitch and moan, haha.
Thanks for your comments, man. I really 'preciate it. 🙂
You didn't come across that way at all. I actually meant to put a period after "cleverly" instead of a comma. Hell, I'm a fat southerner and I make jokes about being fat and from the south (My favorite, my dad is a Catholic and my mom is a Southern Baptist, so every Easter we set out the Crucifix and Velvet Painting of Elvis' Last Supper,it's a beautiful sight lol) but I also make jokes about race, religion, the sexes, sexual orientation, etc. I make sure that people know it's a joke and that I find nothing off limits.
Now if the stuff that I joke about is said to just hurt someone or degrade them, then I find it offensive. I know it's a slippery slope, but when you say it face to face with someone they know if you are joking or being serious. When a person in wrestling makes that kind of remark, then you are supposed to take them serious so it puts it into the offensive category.
I know that sounds weird and it is hard to explain but that's just the way I see it. And as before, you didn't come across as a self-serious asshole, so keep it up. It really could be cool to get a perspective on wrestling from a point of view that I don't have and vice-versa. Sharing experiences and thoughts are the only ways we can unite and eventually overcome having to put "straight, gay, black,white,asian,etc…" suffixes in front of the term people.
Remember the Mexi-cools riding around on lawn mowers? WWE did and does delve into racism and sexism. Just think of every gimmicky Divas match. Cena's gay comments are just cheap heat because he's unable to otherwise compose a compelling promo. It's easy to make fun of gay people because you know the audience will laugh at it. Same reason it's easy to make fun of fat women. WWE thinks it's catering to your average beer-swigging, NASCAR loving, lower middle class American male, and unfortunately this is the type of "humor" that demographic responds to. Cena may not be an active homophobe, but he is a grown man who knows what he is doing and really should know better.
You raise some interesting points here, and you're absolutely right. I'd also direct you toward WrestleMania XIX, which featured Triple H vs. Booker T for the World Heavyweight Championship. The buildup saw Triple H say "People like you don't win World Championships." Granted, I believe he was referring to the context of Booker T having served jail time in his youth, but still…
That's what gets me so much about this. WWE could very well do much better than this, but Creative refuses to even try. The gay jokes, the implied/implicit racism, the sexist crap the Divas are subjected to…they're all crutches, and Creative knows it, but they refuse to try something new for fear that it might *gasp* alienate a few viewers who might not understand concepts that require more than five working brain cells to comprehend.
CHIKARA does PG storytelling in professional wrestling and they do it VERY well. If an indy company that barely draws 1,000 people to its biggest shows can do it better than WWE, what does that say about the multi-billion-dollar publicly traded "sports entertainment" empire?
The irony of this is that "fat women" and "fags" compose a LOT of WWE's audience. Nothing like endearing yourself to your consumers. *rolls eyes*
John Cena's been doing this for a long time. Here's where he did it to Orton years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcUVF1JZy14
BUT…I don't know if the wrestlers themselves (or even VKM) are truly homophobic. Why? Pat Patterson has worked there for many, many years. He's openly gay and yet very much respected. Those auctions on Superstars' used tights generally go for far more $ than that of the Divas…gay couples in particular have, by statistic, more disposable income than other families. Those tights are going for top dollar. Who do you think might be paying those outrageous prices for..? Most of the guys wear less than the women, half-naked. They know that they're going to attract a certain demographic. To be honest, I think that Creative is pandering to the lowest common denominator with the gay jokes; trying to appeal to Mr. or Mrs. Closed-Minded Yeehaw who's hatin' them gays, mhm. So they write these lines to come out of Cena's (the face of the company's) mouth. It's pretty sad, but I don't blame Cena personally. That might sound hypocritical, but just like in Hollywood, the man is following the script. Many scripts out there in movies (too many to mention) and wrestling storylines are distasteful (Hell, birth of the hand?!) but they pay. If Cena said no, who's to say there wouldn't be a de-push over time? Or a reputation being formed of "being difficult"? There are a lot of guys who would kill to be the next Cena. If Cena doesn't say these things, somebody else will.
Interesting points you make. Ok, maybe it's reverse logic, like calling the fat guy slim, or the tall guy shorty….maybe it's 'permissable" to hint that the "obviously" straight wrestlers are gay. (Then again, who really knows what their preference is.) Agree, I think it's really just a weakness in Cena to come up with anything other than "you're gay."
Then again, Cena DID close out his 'rap' with the idea of The Rock kissing his ass, so maybe Cena "doth protest too much?"
My bestfriend, who i love more than most people in this world, is gay and he thinks the jokes that Cena made were hilarious…i think people are taking things out of context and looking for a reason to look badly upon Cena…____I met him once and from what i can tell he is a really good guy! All the Cena-bashers out there need to find a new hobby!
I would never call myself a Cena-basher… While I've never been a huge fan, I accept his role in the company for what it is – and I can see his appeal.
This article is a response to how he has been presented on global television – not an indictment of him as a person. And I think I presented it in a considered way – I'm not one to diss wrestlers for no reason, or spew profanities about them. What's the point in that?
I'm sure Cena's a lovely guy in person. I'm simply tired of the way homosexuality is approached by what is supposed to be a PG, family company. And I'm clearly not the only one, given some of the feedback on here.
All the same, thanks for reading and commenting.
While we certainly have our fair share of Cena-bashers who frequent our site and often comment on our articles, our staff respect Cena as performer, and as far as I can tell we all believe that he's very likely a wonderful human being. I've gone so far as to praise John Cena right here on our site (http://www.boredwrestlingfan.com/2010/10/23/john-cena/) and if anything, I look down on Cena for his remarks on RAW for the sheer fact that I know, plain and simple, that he could cut a decent promo without making insinuations that Miz and A-Ry are gay.
The fact that a gay man felt so strongly about some of Cena's remarks that he asked me for permission to write this article says to me that while there may be some homosexuals out there who laugh off Cena's behavior, there are some that look deeper into things than others.
Thank you for your comment!
29th posts ever… I guess…. time to grow up, huh?
You let that damn Drowgoddess comment on your articles!? How dare she call me out!
WWE (and pro wrestling in general) has long had a tough time with homosexuality. This could perhaps have been brought on by the fact that it's effectively 2 adult males, not fully clothed and covered in babyoil, rubbing up against one another and rolling around a mat.
On the flipside, the entire industry is outdated with its attitudes towards racism, sexuality and..well..the mainstream entertainment industry in general. I wouldn't exactly say WWE (or any other company, not picking on them specifically here) never uses racism at all. When Triple H was feuding with Booker T in the build to Wrestlemania 19 in 2003, he made various mentions to "people like Booker" not deserving to be a World Champion. The connotations of this were rather obvious too – HHH was effectively saying that a black man shouldn't be World Heavyweight Champion.
I realise you were likely shocked by Cena's comments, but I wouldn't go so far as to say he's homophobic. Indeed, I've even heard rumours that the man himself has indulged in some man-love (for lack of a better term) in the past. Of course, rumours are part and parcel of being a success but they're there nonetheless. WWE are also responsible for scripting the mans lines. In saying that, Cena himself has the power to turn down saying anything. However, he's not the first WWE headliner to say anything which could offend someone
Yup, you and Joe are right about the HHH/Booker T feud. There's the argument that he was referring to Book's prison time, but it was a thinly veiled if at all. Then again (and not that this makes it okay), wasn't Trips the heel in that feud? Didn't people boo him for what he was saying? Cena has kids cheering for him when he comes out with crap like that.
Yeah, I doubt the guy's actually homophobic. I guess I'm just sick of the passiveness that surrounds comments like that – that it's generally brushed off as 'childish jokes' as opposed to something that's just wrong.
See, that's the thing. The problem isn't that Cena's saying things, it's what he's saying.
Cena has a huge fanbase, and that's amazing. It's because of his draw that he's able to go out and be a main eventer and things like that. I'm a huge fan of John Cena (and obviously The Miz) and I've even had problems with some of the things he said. A few weeks ago, when he was cutting the promo on Dolph Ziggler and Vickie, I voiced how against it I was. There were people on Twitter that were also very vocally against it.
The truth is that the WWE actually pushes these things too far. They push the issue with the weight repeatedly, but more with the Divas than with the other Superstars. Then, as if to make up for that, they pull out the homophobic things for the Superstars. And the truth is that even if it wasn't against The Miz, I… wasn't that impressed.
Now, I am only a fan. I don't know if he writes his own promos and goes out and does them, or if someone just gives him guidelines, or what goes on in making of promos, but it's not that funny to be basing on homsexuals like that. I mean… I wasn't personally bothered by some of the comments in John Cena's rap the other week, but that's probably because I took them as more hits on his movies than on Rock personally. But I ttoally get the fact that everything is kind of…. pushing the envelope.
And while Cena may not be homphobic, some of the comments are just… pushing the limit a little bit too much. So, yeah. I completely agree with you.
I don't think John Cena is homophobic, his comments are just ignorant and a cheap way to get a pop from the crowd. I didn't so much have a problem with the freestyle rap he did on The Rock because it at least required some wit, but the stuff with Miz and Riley was just lowbrow and came across painfully lame. The bottom line is Cena should just stop with the comedy routine because it comes across as stuff that would be lame even for the playground. He's great when he's the serious business Reverend Cena, and when he pokes fun at himself it's usually amusing, but when he dives into Open Mic Night John Cena, it's painful… and it's getting worse.
However, if you're looking for true homophobia in pro wrestling, just bring up the subject to Shelton Benjamin.
I'm really glad to see this topic come up, and what everyone thinks, and quite impressed that everyone feels it was a step too far. I'm a recent returnee to watching WWE after about a 15 year break, and if this is what's been going on over that time, I'm glad I missed out on it during my formative teenage years.
As a gay man myself, I wasn't particularly impressed with Cena's comments, but perhaps I let them go far too easily: my boyfriend makes a joke that every time Cena does a promo, we should count and balance his poop "jokes" versus his gay "jokes" and I've never taken them too personally (I'm also one of those self-deprecating gays that can hang around with straight men and has no problem making jokes at myself or my sexuality.) But even I was taken aback at the length of Cena's diatribe on this week's Raw: all of a sudden, there's something wrong with being in a relationship with a man? That impugns his ability to be a wrestler? To hold a championship belt (that, let's face it, is storyline-based)?
No, of course not, and too many people make the connection between sexuality and lifestyle: heck, there are too many gay men and women who do the same, and think that their sexuality has to influence fashion, musical preference and so forth. With that in mind, why the hell are one of the most homo-erotic companies in entertainment pushing to do the same? Especially when a significant portion of their audience consists of kids, teenagers and gay men.
As xkiharux said, it really falls to the company to address this issue and do an "It Gets Better" video, or the Superstars to do it themselves, gay, straight, asexual, or otherwise: look to UK rugby player Ben Cohen as a shining example. Personally, I don't want to see any gay wrestlers or attempts to create gay storylines: maybe weeknight family sports entertainment isn't the place to explain the ins-and-outs of sexuality in such a macho environment. But that's not to say that gives a free pass to use this kind of stuff in slurs.
As a pretty butch gay man (wait…I'm second-guessing saying "pretty" there) I'm pretty fed up with Lady Gaga and Glee having the exclusive rights to waving the flag for gay rights. If you're going to be socially responsible enough to support your troops and warn the kids not to try this at home, it's a bloody logical step to tell them all that there are no problems with whomever or whatever they are.
I think that John Cena is getting way too much blame here. Cena is just a puppet. It's like hating Kevin Spacey for his role in Se7en. The problem is the writers responsible. That's what needs to change.
Thank you to everybody who's commented thusfar for your honest opinions of the subject. Rich's article, thanks to all of you, is by far the most popular article we've ever had here on BWF! Keep commenting – we love your opinions!
Also, would anybody like to point to the "Hot Lesbian Action" as a total double standard? Kimona & Beulah were very talked-about. But woe be unto a wrestler who might be gay. Cena's character would not have the same reaction if it were two women kissing. Just goes to show how barbaric the minds running this company are.
It shows men are running the company as well. Men, in general find two beautiful women kissing hot, while women in general find two handsome men kissing hot.
I'll admit it. I kind of dig the image of the Rock "polishing Cena's balls." And I'm a girl. So all Cena is doing with his homophobic/homoerotic promos is fuel that…
…But yeah, double standards are dumb. Though they also did the "Mickie James is Psycho Lesbian for Trish" storyline as well, so it wasn't that ALL lesbians were great, though I'm sure plenty of men enjoyed it.
Can I start by saying I'm a huge Cena fan. I'm also a lesbian, in my 30's and in a civil partnership with my partner of 10 years. Like some of the openly gay commenters above I don't offend easily. I laugh at myself, at the gay/straight divide (I live in Northern England, trust me, there is one!) and I take a lot of things with a pinch of salt.
I have very little problem with gay jokes in lots of comedy and especially wrestling, mainly because I interpret them as way to get cheap laughs. It always has and most likely always will. I've laughed at Cena's promo with Orton from Backlash, his rap on Christian and Tomko and even the Brokeback comment in his rap recently. It's no more offensive than anything I hear from Eminem who I also like. However, what really got under my skin was this:
"With all these accomplishments, do you really want to look back years from now and realise you shared your legacy with another man?"
All the stuff about Bed, Bath and Beyond etc, I didn't care the slightest about. it was as silly as the cream filler/alternative thinking comments he made about Gabriel last year. But the comment I've picked out above, that seems a lot more pointed. it isn't a pun or a play on stereotypes. To me it seems like a legitimised question rather than a joke of any kind. It's maybe an issue of semantics but I would've even felt better about it if he'd said "legacy with A-Ri." Just sounds less absolute and damning to me.
If I'm honest it's left me a little bit conflicted about how I feel about John's motives and him as a character. I'm fairly sure he's no more homophobic in real life than the next pro-wrestler, and given the way he's groped the holy hell out of Orton in the ring over the years I'm sure his attitude isn't one of abject disgust. The one saving grace is that I see him as the ultimate company guy. He does whatever they want, whenever they want him to do it. If they've told him that's the angle then he's gone and done it, maybe just taken it a bit too far.
The other thing to take into consideration is whether or not they played a dead cheap angle to split A-Ri from Miz as a last resort/panic stations action which is highly likely given the bizarre creative direction lately in the run up to Mania. In all honesty were there any cheaper angles they could've played to make Miz keen enough to put his sidekick on the line within the space of ten minutes? I don't think there is/was.
So, kudos to the writer for this article and for the site for publishing it. It, and the subsequent comments, really have expressed and explored a lot of what I was feeling myself. Thanks for giving me an appropriate forum on which to get this off my chest as it's been bugging the hell out of me since Monday!!
To Kel and all reading, this is what the IWC is lacking, Intelligent wrestling discussion. Bring it to the BWF. SIgn up, or consider writing here…. here is a complimentary Kool-Aid!
You are absolutely 100% correct, sir. We don't claim to be "insiders" here – this is a site made by wrestling fans, for wrestling fans. Intelligent discussion always welcomed!
The ability to debate wrestling without it descending into a slanging match is seemingly a pretty rare one amongst most folks in the IWC – glad to see it's different here! I'll certainly be hanging around more and if the chance ever came up to write then I'd love to give it a go, I can't promise that it wouldn't read to the world like Regal had written it though!! And thanks for the Kool-Aid, it's damn tasty stuff 😉
Kel, thanks for your comments. I love reading well thought-out posts like this; the IWC often lacks it!
You're far too kind! I thought your article was very insightful and wasn't as confrontational as I'm sure it's easy to make these things. I find myself disappointed with the whole situation with John but then I'm also fully aware that I'll stop what I'm doing to watch the TV when I hear his music next Monday night. There's no accounting for taste, right? 😀
I certainly look forward to reading more of what you write in the future!
I think it can be too easy to be confrontational about stuff like this… but it's not nearly as effective as considered words.
As I said to Joe, I wasn't initially sure about the title – I think some people saw it and were like 'WHAT?!?!@sljdgffgsagfh'… but then again, you need something to hook people in, right? 😉
Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it. And yeah, you should definitely join the team, we'd love to have you!
I passive-aggressively tweeted this article to Cena, though I highly doubt he'll see it. But it's very well-written and something that's always bothered me, too, but that I've lacked the articulation or guts to speak up about.
I'm also glad to see from the comments that I'm not the only one who notices this stuff. Most of the time, I try to write it off as typical harmless rassling ignorance, but now that they claim to be "family-friendly," their treatment of homosexuality reeks of hypocrisy.
And I'm wondering…does Cena's apparent homophobia contribute to his penchant for burying his face in guy's crotches during matches all the time? I'm serious. I have a lot of those photos saved for times like these.
Another comment I have to make is that though CM Punk is supposed to be the "top heel" of the company now, he's actually one of the more level-headed and intelligent people on the roster. The comments he made calling Cena out for being a bully back in the beginning of their feud were absolutely true. All he does is make fun of people for their weight or their "tendencies." If someone who was a non-wrestling fan turned on the TV and compared the two promos, they would hands-down perceive Punk to be the good guy.
Like people have said before, using "gay" as an empty insult means you're really just grasping at straws. Whether its Cena himself or the Creative team, I'm not surprised either way. There were a million other valid insults you could use against Miz/Riley/Rock, but they had to choose the one that was completely irrelevant and technically not even an insult.
Oddly enough, I’ve said the exact same thing amongst friends, and it’s absolutely true. Even in Punk’s feud with Orton this rings true, though that’s irrelevant to the article at hand. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Thanks so much for your comments! I'm really proud to see this article provoke thoughtful discussion, and not descend into name-calling or whatever!
I completely agree about CM Punk – he was on the button about Cena! Between that, and his current feuding revolving around him being the victim of a vicious assault back in '08… Non-wrestling fans would definitely see things a little differently.
Some people have suggested that Cena's promo on Monday night was intentionally bad; that the writers are doing their best to get his detractors riled up, to emphasise the difference between The Rock and Cena's fanbases. Whether there's any truth to that or not… There are still plenty of ways, as you said, to insult people without resorting to gay jokes!
Again, thanks for commenting – please stick around! We love having people like you get involved.
Wait… CM Punk is a heel? 🙂 I love that guy!
Excellent article! I appreciate that you wrote what others have not or will not write. Reblogged onto the Tumblr landscape!
Thanks a lot!
"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!"
Not true. A couple of months ago on a Raw, R-Truth told Alberto Del Rio to "go home". In Arizona. With intent.
He probably was calling him gay as if it was a bad thing because it IS a bad thing. Despite what the gay-adoring Glee media would have you believe, it's ENTIRELY unnatural and should NOT be encouraged. I love that WWE is one of the few companies that still takes that stand. Network TV shows bullshit like Modern Family and no one bats an eye anymore even though the idea of a child being shoved into a gay household should make anyone with a brain sick to their stomach.
I'd love to hear your reasoning for homosexuality being "entirely unnatural".
And I really don't understand how the thought of a child growing up with two loving parents could make anybody "with a brain" stick to their stomach. Who cares if it's two dudes, or two women? Would you rather a kid grew up in abusive foster care, or ended up on the streets?
anyone who has a problem with what went down on raw is just too overly sensitive! how is it that glaad can sit there and cry foul over a "FAKE PROMO" on a wrestling promo yet they cant even police their own community from calling each other f*gs or d*kes? this is the same organization that got all bunched up panties when the wwe didnt go through with the billy & chuck wedding back in the attitude era. im so f'n sick of pc police. if something offends you NEWS FLASH: CHANGE THE DAMN CHANNEL!!! watching dudes dress up as women offends me, seeing 2 guys make out offends me SO I DONT WATCH! this is insane how pc we have to be now. everybody is so easily offended these days. get over it glaad and stay out of my viewing entertainment!
Glad to see you and Dave there show up late to the conversation. You guys certainly have an antiquated outlook on things. I’m sure Dubya would be proud.
On points I agree with you, however. This is an overly PC time and watchdog groups go overboard. However, I will have to point out that despite a growing presence of homosexual relationships in the media, nobody is forcing you to have one. There’s no reason to disrespect a person based on their choice of partner. Rich isn’t going to judge you for liking women, and just because he’s gay doesn’t mean he’s going to come on to you of you’re sitting next to him at, say,a WWE live event. Closed mindedness and short sightedness is not going to make homosexuals go away, so you might as well join us in the 21st century and realize that people are people.
you must be gay yourself.. grow up asshole.. you wouldnt mind if others were the target… fuck u and you comment..
kill yourself cammmi