WWE Ejects Fan With Anti-JBL-Bullying Sign As Crowd Chants "Fire Bradshaw" At Smackdown Live
Former WWE Champion, current Smackdown Live announcer, and Fox News analyst John Bradshaw Layfield continues to get heat from WWE fans, though not the good kind that heel characters are supposed to get, or even the bad kind that WWE pretends is good that Roman Reigns gets. Instead, fans seem to just want JBL fired after reports of bullying that began to gain media traction after fellow Smackdown Live announced Mauro Ranallo was apparently driven from the company by JBL's behavior. Since then, reports of past and present bullying by the former APA member have been so prolific on the internet that JBL has taken to blocking anyone who even thinks about the behavior on Twitter.
From a report by Bleeding Cool's Gavin Sheehan:
Confirmed by Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, JBL has been going through social media and blocking anyone he can who wished Mauro Ranallo best wishes after the bullying scandal came to light. What's more, JBL has been blocking people who are following Ranallo on Twitter, (which includes WWE staffers and talent) as well as members of the media who have been reporting on JBL's bullying issues now and over the years. That includes yours truly, who got the notification this morning on the social media software I use for business.
Things got even worse for JBL at last night's Smackdown Live taping, as videos on Twitter show a fan being removed from the arena for holding up a sign reading "JBL Bullied Me" as the crowd cheered him on:
Another video shows the crowd chanting "fire Bradshaw:"
With its carny origins, the wrestling business has always had a uniquely backwards backstage culture, but even WWE has been forced to modernize in recent years. Former WWE head trainer Hugh Morris was forced to resign in 2015 after accusations of bullying, physical assault, sexual harassment, racism, homophobia, and other staples of the old school wrestling business came to light, something that would likely not have happened ten years earlier.
By removing fans holding signs referencing the scandal, however, WWE appears to be signaling a desire to stand behind JBL and wait for the controversy to blow over. Unfortunately, pro wrestling fans, like the elephants many of us physically resemble, are known to never forget. Just ask any wrestler who's been the recipient of a CM Punk chant years after he left the company.
WWE is the founding member of the Be A Star Alliance, an anti-bullying program. Sad trombone noise goes here.