Earlier this year, Brian Kendrick negotiated his release from WWE and was set to debut for AEW. After his first Dynamite match was announced, multiple videos of Kendrick discussing anti-semitic conspiracy theories such as holocaust denial were shared online. The clips were from public interviews Kendrick had done roughly a decade earlier.
Tony Khan pulled Kendrick from that match and any future AEW work the two had discussed. Kendrick apologized, and exited the scene. He returned this week with an interview on the Duke Loves Rasslin podcast that’s gotten some mainstream media coverage from the likes of TMZ.
In the interview, the 42 year old wrestler again apologizes for what he says were in-character comments:
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being so cold-hearted and trying to profit off of tragedy, I suppose it’s what it was. I was trying to gain off of others’ tragedies by making conspiracy to create a buzz for myself to gain some sort of bookings.
“It was a terrible idea and even if it hadn’t affected anybody, it’s still just horribly embarrassing. I am sorry for anybody — to people I hurt, for making light of stuff that happened to them or their family. I hope you accept that.”
He says the controversy has led to a lot of self-reflection. He’s taken some tangible steps to make amends, and reiterating that he never personally believed the abhorrent things he said in those 2011-2013 interviews:
“A friend of mine recommended Survivor Mitzvah [a non-profit aid program for holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe]. I recommend that too; seems to be an honest charity where the money goes directly to survivors.
“My actions, as far as hoping to be kinder, if it’s a question of understanding the tragedies of the past — the truth is I understood all that long ago, prior to these statements. Years ago, as part of WWE, Beth Phoenix and I went to Dachau [the site of a former concentration camp which now features a holocaust memorial]. As a teenager, I went to the Holocaust Museum with my grandfather. I know these things... What I was doing was trying to profit off of that and trying to become a villain who would make light of such tragedy. It’s a disgusting thing to do, and I did it...
“These weren’t videos that were under a hot mic. I knew what I was saying and what I was trying to do was trying to offend. The truth is, at a certain point, you have to start taking life seriously, and pissing people off and offending them are two different things. It’s one thing to piss them off. It’s another thing to offend them. I don’t want to offend anybody. But ten years ago, I didn’t give a shit.”
He says the entire situation has caused him to focus on being humble, kind, and non-judgemental.
Kendrick lost whatever job he would have had with AEW, and hasn’t been offered any other booking since. He’s grateful he hasn’t “lost many friends”. He seems to hope he’ll get another chance — and says he would be inclined to book someone in a similar situation if roles were reversed, “but that’s me and people have to decide what’s best for them.”
“I understand the humor in it too. ‘Cry me a river, this guy loses his job, the guy who goofed on the holocaust.’ I understand the cosmic humor in all of it. Jokes on me.”
You can listen to Brian Kendrick’s entire interview on Duke Loves Rasslin here.