In the wake of the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct being bandied about Hollywood recently, WWE Hall Of Fame Jerry 'The King' Lawler talked about sexism in professional wrestling and weighed in on whether any such incidents could or have happened behind-the-scenes in pro wrestling on his Dinner With The King podcast.
In Lawler's view, the ongoing wave of accusations of sexual impropriety in Hollywood in many cases could be correlated to the heightened sensitivity level of American society.
"It appears that anybody that [has] ever flirted with anybody or had any kind of sexual contact all-of-a-sudden, you could potentially be a target in the future."
Lawler explained, "I've seen pictures in the past of wrestlers, I'm not going to say who or whatever, but, like, this was a guy's joke, as a prank, like a wrestler falls asleep and then another guy goes over and says, 'look, take a picture of this!' He takes his genitals out and puts it near the guy's face! I mean, it's a prank. It's done in jest, but hey, it's like a college kid prank. I've actually seen that done before. And at the time, you're thinking, 'this is entirely harmless,' but then, all-of-a-sudden, 15 years later, the photograph shows up somewhere and it's going to offend somebody and that's the way the country has become, that everything that 99% of the people may think is done in jest or whatever, but then, all-of-a-sudden, that 1% there is going to be offended by it and that 1% can speak as loudly as all the other 99% cannot."
According to Lawler, he is unaware of whether anyone in the business has ever used a position of authority to procure sexual favors from an individual with weaker bargaining power.
"I don't know. I've don't know of anything. I haven't heard of anything like that happening before. But, gosh, the times have just changed so much. Good grief! I remember the stuff on commentary, the things we would be able to get away with saying that, God, nowadays, people's heads would explode! Can you imagine going out [on WWE TV now] and saying, 'oh, we have a bra and panties match coming up tonight!' My gosh, that used to be a highlight of the show, the bra and panties match! I remember one of my favorite lines was, 'panties aren't the greatest thing in the world, but they are next to it!'"
When asked by podcast co-host Glenn Moore whether he is upset by the fact that fans of just 'The Attitude Era' may think he really believed the things he said on commentary, Lawler responded in the negative.
"No, not at all. It really [does not]. Everybody, I mean, to a man or a person, really, that ever talks to me about things that we said or did during 'The Attitude Era', they talk with fondness. They loved it. I mean, they say, 'man, it'll never be that good again,' so I don't know. It was just that at that time, it didn't offend people. I don't know how the country and people's attitudes have changed so much over a short period of time that now those things are just taboo, but back during that time, that's all I hear about now, 'oh my gosh, I used to love it when you'd commentate on a bra and panties match' or with the Divas. I mean, good grief, we've gone so far now, you can't even refer to them as Divas. The women have to be treated the same as the men and I don't know. That's just the way times have changed."
Puppies! If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Dinner With The King with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
Source: Dinner With The King