Leading up to its Worlds End PPV on Dec. 30, much of the social media discussion about AEW was focused on rumors and speculation about sexual harassment/misconduct at the company. The discussion was prompted by comments Nick Hausman made on his Rumor & Innuendo podcast about Chris Jericho:
“There are issues with Chris behind the scenes, where I know a lot of people who were hurt by Chris and his actions. You know, it’s very uncomfortable to me to see him lauded like he is and only having the focus on that, because I do think there are a lot of questionable stories about Chris that will find their way out over time when people are ready to tell those stories, that will cast him in a very different light.
“I mean, Harvey Weinstein won a lot of Oscars, Harvey Weinstein produced a lot of very popular films. Harvey Weinstein is now in jail … I’m not saying that is happening to Chris, but the narrative can quickly turn if you’re hiding a lot of skeletons in your closet.”
The online conversation which developed as that Hausman quote was shared around included speculation about specific past instances, and led to several signs referencing rumors and noticeable boos for the veteran wrestler during his tag match at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
While TBS champion Julia Hart was taking questions at the post-show media scrum, Kevin McElvaney of Pro Wrestling Illustrated asked Tony Khan about sexual harassment at the company and concern among fans about the safety of women’s wrestlers. AEW’s owner, president & head of creative responded (while wearing Toni Storm’s hat & sunglasses from the preceding segment of the presser) by saying:
“It’s something we’re very serious about, and we’ve had a policy in place, and it’s certainly — I think any time there’s anything like that we would make sure we do everything we can to prevent it. AEW has the best safety record I believe of any pro wrestling company in the world.
“I believe we have the most safe environment, I believe we have the best safety record of any pro wrestling company, and I would hold the record of AEW on safety against any wrestling company in the world, and I think AEW is the safest place for pro wrestling. And if any of our wrestlers ever have a concern, they always have an open line to talk to me. I believe anyone would sit here and tell you they always can talk to me any time they are concerned about anything.”
McElvaney did not mention Jericho, but did ask specifically about the policy Khan alluded to, and what’s been “disseminated to employees”. Khan responded:
“Well certainly, if there was anything that came to light to me, I would take it to the disciplinary committee, and that’s how we’ve been doing it. The disciplinary committee has been doing a great job and everybody knows they have an open line to me or anybody on that committee.”
Tony Khan asked about sexual harassment during the AEW Worlds End media-scrum: pic.twitter.com/CspugAW9qV— Wrestle Ops (@WrestleOps) December 31, 2023
Later when Khan was taking questions on his own, Phil Strum of USA Today followed up. He did ask about Jericho — specifically if Jericho is or “was at any time under any internal investigation for sexual misconduct, any other type of misconduct, over the course of his tenure in AEW”.
Khan, now without the hat & sunglasses, replied:
“I can’t speak to internet and unsourced rumors. I think, I spoke earlier to Kevin and mentioned the policy we have in place, and the disciplinary process. We’ve always followed that, and I believe is the safest wrestling company in the world, and we have the best track record for safety, and I would hold it up to anybody. And anytime anybody has any kind of a complaint, they have an open door again to say it to me, or to anyone in the office, and we would look into it, anytime. So again, Kevin earlier asked about that policy, and I think I gave a pretty robust answer on that, and it would apply here too.”
The issue was raised a third time by someone from Wrestling Observer, who again specifically brought up Jericho. Khan rephrased his previous responses about wrestlers and employees being able to talk to him or the disciplinary committee at any time and the company’s safety record, but still did not confirm or deny any specific investigations.
Jericho did not appear at the scrum, nor has he responded to any of the recent dialogue from his own social media.