The Story Behind Sgt Slaughter's Stolen Valor Controversy

Many wrestling fans likely remember Sgt. Slaughter as a prominent part of WWE television for several runs in the 1980s and 1990s. Slaughter is a former WWE Champion, and is often remembered for a period where he denounced the United States in character, becoming a sympathizer for Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. After eventually losing the championship to Hulk Hogan, Slaughter would disappear for a few years before returning as the WWE Commissioner during the Attitude Era, serving as a foil to the popular D-Generation X stable.

Slaughter, real name Robert Remus, was quite a well-known figure in popular culture throughout his pro wrestling career. Remus even had a G.I. Joe action figure based upon his Sgt. Slaughter character, helping expose his character to kids who weren't wrestling fans.

While it's understandable for the lines between character and reality to be blurred given the era of wrestling Remus came up in, there are a number of incidents of him claiming to reporters, supposedly out of character, that he actually served in the United States Marine Corps. While this doesn't pose an issue on its own, there is one reason why this has become something of a controversy over the years.

Sgt. Slaughter's military claims

The controversy around Robert Remus largely surrounds the fact that, despite the way he's spoken in some interviews, he may have never served in the military. The claims made by Remus about his history in the military have gotten him into some hot water with the press in the past. However, given the controversy of "stealing valor," it's actually surprising Remus has been able to maintain his story over the years.

According to accounts such as Bret "The Hitman" Hart's book, Remus has even told fellow wrestlers that he is a military veteran. As recently as February 2019, Remus could be seen talking about his military past in interviews -– despite the fact that this past may not actually exist. It's quite possible that many within the industry actually believe Remus did serve, considering how he's stuck to his story.

The act of "stealing valor" is greatly frowned upon in the United States, especially by those who actually served in the military. The fact that Remus continues to make these false claims is surprising, but what's even more surprising is the fact that he has rarely been called out on it in the past.