Ever since GLAAD forced WWE to knock off John Cena's scripted homophobic jokes and WWE assured them that such incidents will not happen again, WWE management have been crossing their fingers that their talent doesn't screw up by using homophobic slurs in public in a manner that would ensure being picked up on by mainstream gossip sites like TMZ. It only took a handful of days before WWE's worst fears became true when the surprisingly dumb close friend of John Cena, Michael Cole, used the most offensive gay slur on Twitter in an ill thought out joke aimed at fellow announcer Josh Matthews. With such horrible timing Cole was extremely lucky to get away with his moment of madness with just the minor punishment of being made to attend a GLAAD training seminar. But WWE wasn't going to suspend or fire Cole while he was in a major WrestleMania program with Jerry "The King" Lawler. However, this incident did serve to make WWE even more paranoid about something similar happening in the future.
So when a burnt out CM Punk slipped up by being goaded into responding to homophobic hecklers in kind, WWE hoped against hope that this wouldn't be publicised by TMZ. When their hopes were dashed, WWE made sure to emphasise to TMZ that they can't be held accountable for the unscripted actions of their "independent contractors":
WWE does not condone this type of language or bias and we reinforce that with our talent who are independent contractors.
Unsurprisingly GLAAD was not amused by Punk's remarks. They probably would be even less amused if they realised that WWE intentionally misled them with their "punishment" of CM Punk, giving GLAAD the impression that they took the incident so seriously that they weren't going to renew Punk's soon to be expiring contract over the incident:
WWE officials also told GLAAD this morning that CM Punk's contract will expire in a few weeks, he will not be immediately renewed, and he will no longer be with WWE as of July 18. A spokesperson told us "this departure is not part of a storyline. He is contractually leaving the organization."
A spokesperson for the WWE told us "We are taking this very seriously."
Misleading because it has been known for quite some time that Punk wanted to voluntarily leave the company for a sabbatical when his current deal expired. It's now clear that Punk's remarkable "shoot promo" was mainly done to create some false doubt amongst smart fans over whether he would indeed leave the company. As WWE proved with their reaction to Cole's more serious error of judgement, they aren't willing to change their big picture storyline direction to keep GLAAD happy, so Punk's leaving date was always going to be July 18th, the first Raw after the Money In The Bank PPV he headlines in a loser leaves the company type situation.
In another concession to placate GLAAD, WWE's on-air talent may now be forced to attend a training session ran by the gay rights group, thanks to this latest incident, which will surely make Punk popular in the locker room, especially as he'll likely be on vacation when it occurs:
As for how this fits in with our ongoing work with WWE, GLAAD provided training to members of WWE's editorial staff and writing team in May, but because this event was not intended to be televised, and it took place during an unscripted interaction with the audience, none of the people we had already trained were involved. As a result, we are now in discussions with WWE to provide trainings to its on-camera talent, including the wrestlers themselves.