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Wrestlecon removes Rick Steiner due to lack of public apology for transphobic harassment of Gisele Shaw

Wrestlecon received quite a bit of blowback to their decision to book Rick Steiner for their upcoming SummerSlam weekend events in Detroit.

The story of the WWE Hall of Famer’s harassment of Impact’s Gisele Shaw, a trans woman, at Wrestlecon’s WrestleMania week events led the organizers to apologize to Shaw. In defending their decision to book Steiner again, WrestleCon’s Michael Bochicchio cited the fact Rick had apologized to those who “chose to hear from him at a private mediated event.”

One issue many critics pointed out regarding Wrestlecon’s response to the entire incident was that Steiner never publicly apologized. That issue was raised by our colleague at SBNation’s Outsports, Brian Bell, which apparently led Bochicchio & team to ask Steiner for a statement. He did not provide one, and as a result he now won’t be appearing in Detroit.

Here’s Wrestlecon’s full statement on the matter:

Attention: Rick Steiner has been removed from Wrestlecon.

When we allowed Rick Steiner to return to our Convention as a vendor guest of Tony Hunter Promotions, we did not adequately take into account the impact his past words from our last event still held in the LGBTQIA+ community. We initially allowed him to return because 1) We still feel that people deserve a second chance. 2) Rick did make an apology to all parties that chose to be present. 3) We lacked any type of code of conduct/harassment policy that clearly defined our expectations as a convention participant.

After a thoughtful dialogue with Brian Bell from SB Nation’s Outsports and host of the LGBT In the Ring podcast on Monday morning, we agreed with his opinion it was necessary to have some type of public acknowledgment/apology from Rick Steiner, at an absolute minimum, to allow him to attend Detroit. Because we understand this issue required great urgency, we gave Rick Steiner 24 hours to make such a statement. Unfortunately, there is not currently and we do not expect to receive such a statement, and we have therefore made a decision to revoke our permission for him to attend.

Additionally, we now have created a first draft of our Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment policy that will be posted on our website for everybody to see later today. We will continue to improve upon this code of conduct over time and with the cooperation of others. We understand and appreciate that there will be many differences of opinion among our participants and we want to create a safe and enjoyable space for everybody at our Conventions. At this time, we have partnered in solidarity with other Wrestling industry Convention leaders, notably Starrcast, Wrestlecade, and The Gathering (Charlotte Fanfest) who also agree to adopt and adhere to a similar code of conduct for their events.

Wrestlecon’s website now has a Code of Conduct. You can read that here.

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