Top WWE Executive Allegedly Makes Racist Remarks Around WWE Employees

During an interview published last week in Fighting Spirit Magazine discussing the circumstances surrounding his departure from WWE, Alberto Del Rio claimed that it was not uncommon for people in positions of power in the Stamford, Connecticut-based organization to openly say racial remarks around employees under the guise of jokes. According to Del Rio, the remarks were frequently aimed toward African Americans and Hispanics.

On Aug. 7, WWE announced the release of Del Rio "due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee." Recalling the altercation, he said, "That guy, the social media guy [Cody Barbierri, WWE's then-manager of social media], made a racist joke?saying that it was my job to clean his table. Of course, I got really upset, and I asked him for an apology, but he didn't do it; instead of giving me an apology, he smiled, giving me this big 'F–k you' smirk, and I slapped him. That was it. Right after that I had a conversation with Vince McMahon and all the important people in the company, and they all said, 'Don't worry, nothing's going to happen. We're not saying what you did was the right thing to do, but we understand where you're coming from after getting that big insult from this guy, who instead of apologizing, he smiled at you.'"

He continued, "This is unfair, because we always get these racist jokes from WWE employees, and I've never been happy [about it]. I didn't say anything, because most of the people doing these racist jokes were important people in the company. It was not just to me, it was to all the Latino elements in the company, all the African Americans, but the way it is in the company, if you come from that background, you have to live with that ? you have no option, you know?"

Del Rio was initially told by WWE officials that he was going to be suspended for a few weeks for slapping Barbierri, but they decided to fire him due to concern over a lawsuit being filed after a similar incident took place last year where Big Show slapped "another social media guy" and he sued the company?this legal dispute is still ongoing. A top WWE official told Del Rio he could return once "things cool down," to which he responded that wouldn't come back if he wasn't re-hired by the end of their phone call. Del Rio reiterated that he had no plans on re-signing with WWE once his contract expired.

"As you know, and everybody else knows, I wasn't going to stay [in WWE] once my contract was up. They were like, 'Well, you need to wait' and I said, 'I'm not going to wait. I wasn't going to stay anyway, so if we don't fix this?if you're gonna fire me when I'm the victim and I have to hear this guy making these comments,'" said Del Rio.

According to Del Rio, the member of WWE management who notified him of his release would often make racial jokes around employees. Del Rio voiced his displeasure with this during their conversation, feeling that he should be setting a better example.

"The person calling me was one of the most important people in the company, and I said, 'We always hear these racist jokes from you, and because you're one of the most important people in the company in this company, your other employees hear you making these stupid comments, and they think they can do it,'" said Del Rio. "I said, 'It's just like in my house: if my son sees me spitting on the floor, he's gonna do it, because he's going to think that it's the right thing to do, because I'm the power figure in the house.' In this company, it's exactly the same: when they hear you doing these racist comments all the time, and we don't say anything, because it is you, now those guys think they can go make those stupid comments."

According to Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer, who initially reported Del Rio's interview comments, the person who Del Rio is talking about is Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE's Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative.

"The guy who made the call was Levesque," Meltzer stated on the message board in response to a question asking which WWE executive made the phone call to Del Rio.

Days after his release from WWE, Del Rio said in this interview on a morning talk show in Mexico that it was Triple H who personally informed of his departure.

This is not the first time where Triple H has been accused of racism. Ricardo Rodriguez, Del Rio's former personal ring announcer, revealed after his departure from WWE over the summer that Triple H never referred to him by his name, but as "Bumblebee," an overweight Latino cartoon character on The Simpsons who dresses in a bumblebee costume and is portrayed as a spoof on common American stereotypes of Mexican pop culture. Rodriguez later found out that Triple H had referred to other Latino wrestlers as "Bumblebee."

Rodriguez said on the Busted Open radio show with Doug Mortman and Dave Lagreca, "I am a little bigger; I am not fat by all means. With my lucha background, I can do flips, front flips, back flips, 450?s, shooting stars, and all that (explicative); Yeah so when I was working with the tryouts and being extras. We would do spots and I would flip around and take bumps like a clothesline and shooting stars. Triple H would call me a bumblebee; I was in Puerto Rico not too long ago and I saw Savio Vega and he used to call him a bumblebee and then I found out he called Super Crazy a bumblebee. He was a referring to an American guy doing flips. He would always make this comment about me being Mexican and Del Rio being Mexican. I and Del Rio use to call ourselves stupid names but when someone else would call us those names we would go whoa hold the (explicative) up."

Former WWE and WCW star Konnan considers the "Bumblebee" remark racist.

"That shows you the racist element of upper management," Konnan said of the label on Twitter. "Soon you will hear why i am saying this..[Vince McMahon] and [Triple H] have made numerous racists remarks which they will have to be held accountable for."