In a recent interview with SK Wrestling, former WWE manager Zeb Colter (Dutch Mantell) revealed a conversation he had with Triple H about a controversial line he didn’t want to say in a promo.

During Mantell’s time managing Jack Swagger – now AEW’s Jake Hager – he would regularly voice anti-immigration beliefs and claim to defend free speech. However, on one particular occasion, Mantell felt WWE’s creative team had gone too far by asking him to use the controversial line “affirmative action” during a promo exchange with Titus O’Neil and Darren Young of the The Prime Time Players.

“Zeb Colter was supposed to be the right-wing radical, but the way I was doing my interviews, it made sense, and a lot of people were agreeing with me,” Mantell recalled. “They wanted me to go out one time and I was talking to Titus and Darren Young. [WWE management] wanted me to say what I got against them is ‘affirmative action’ and I went ‘Guys, I don’t wanna say that.’”

Mantell explained why he requested Triple H to take the controversial line out of the promo.

“They said ‘Oh yeah, that’s what they want you to say.’ I asked ‘Why?’ I said ‘I guarantee you, when I go out there and I say that, now I’m racializing – I’m just making Zeb Colter a straight out racist.’ They said ‘Well, do this,’ and I then went to Triple H and said ‘Hey man, you’re gonna kill this character,’ and he did say this: ‘Okay, say it. If they don’t respond then take it out.’”

Mantell workshopped the promo at a house show; it was met with silence. Although the line was taken out of future promos, Mantell felt he was vindicated.

“I said ‘Get ready to take it out because they’re not gonna respond to this’. Nobody wants to hear it,” Mantell admitted. “I don’t care who you are. They don’t want to hear it. I went out there, and I said that; you could here not a pin drop. It got eerily quite. I know what they’re saying, you could read their mind. They’re saying ‘Oh God don’t take it this way, Please don’t lean into it.'”

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