Let me start by saying that Jim Cornette is undoubtedly one of the greatest pro wrestling managers in history and also one of the top booking minds of the past 25+ years. That should definitely be respected, but it's long overdue for the wrestling media to stop mollycoddling him and looking the other way when he spouts ignorant and xenophobic views, just because he's an excellent columnist, interview guest and podcast host when he sticks to his wheelhouse of old school rasslin'.
In recent weeks, Cornette has caused controversy with his outspoken views about Islam in the aftermath of the Nov. 13th Paris terrorist attacks. In his first podcast after the incident Cornette blamed the religion as a whole for the attacks, even though the actions were committed by an extremist sect. He stereotyped Muslims as people "who bomb the fuck out of shit" and argued that if you were to outlaw any speech or thought it would be Islam because it "blatantly hinges on [the belief that] people should be killed, stoned to death, mutilated, castrated, beheaded or otherwise eliminated for a variety of shit that nobody should give a shit about to begin with."
When Alice Radley, Cornette's co-host, read out an email by an Australian Muslim three weeks later on his podcast that correctly pointed out that Islam actually is a peaceful religion that strictly prohibits both suicide and murdering innocent civilians, did Cornette apologise for his views? Why, of course not! Cornette doubled down and cut another ugly Islamophobic and intolerant promo, which should have no place in wrestling, in my opinion. A video of his rant, along with a transcript of his most outspoken comments can be seen below:
"But let me tell you something dickface after you have gone off on that promo, let me tell you a few things. Number one of which I'll admit that the people running the United States are a really fucked up bunch of people, however, you think it's bad, [if] those fucking dalmatian eating fucking psychopaths that run your fucking countries over there [got] a hold of the U.S.'s resources and you'll see what would happen. The whole fucking Earth would be blown up in six fucking weeks, because your people are a bunch of goddamn lunatics and here's why motherfucker. The Americans are psychopaths? We're fucking amateurs. Here's what you ought to do just before we even get into the meat of the matter, what you ought to do is you ought to put a fucking kibosh on those street celebrations you have where 20,000 of ya are out on the fucking street wearing some shitty clothes that look like they haven't been washed in fucking six weeks with goats firing off automatic weapons up in the air celebrating with the fucking burning fucking George Bush effigies and death to America banners. We know George Bush was a goddamn idiot, but you know what, we also don't really burn people in a fucking street around here for real even if he deserved it, which he did, and you people do, so don't try to tell me about this peaceful fucking Islamic religion when all you see from these goddamn backward ass cave-fucking people's countries are goddamn people burning other people in the streets and throwing them off goddamn roofs, first of all....
But with the Muslims you're not even safe in fucking Disneyland, so as far as I'm concerned the Muslims have lost the right to be indignant when people knock them or their religion or look at them sideways or like they're scared because when a large number of those people are fucking nuts and regardless of what this guy says what you hear on television or you read in the newspapers and magazines and the things that these religious leaders call [for], the fatwahs on people, and they fucking shoot people for cartoons, if your religion calls for a lot of fucked up things to happen to women or gay people and or anybody that tells you that your God is fictitious and you are easily egged on by all those other religions with their fictitious versions of God telling you your God is fictitious, which they all are by the way, so the only way to get even is to blow up a bunch of people you don't know. No, I'm not onboard with your shit their pal....
You can't go out and discriminate against or be violent to anybody just because a bunch of their fucking people but not all do bad things, but you can have a group of people who lose their right to be surprised or offended or indignant when they don't like them or look sideways at them or talk bad about them because their group is involved with so many bullshit fucking incidents in so many places over so long a period of fucking time. The fucking Scientologists may not be there yet, but the Muslims are. And once again, memo Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, [if they didn't] look like a goddamn bunch of fucking, you know, nutcases, Ayatollah Who The Fuck and all the goddamn maniacs with all the automatic rifles with the death to America banners, and have a bunch of people jumping up and down screaming like cave people on acid it would help your fucking public relations.
Yes, and I realise the United States has been fucked up but it doesn't matter even when we get a goddamn guy named Barack Obama in the White House as the leader of the free world and still you think the fucking West is on a goddamn war against Islam? We're in a war against Islam because you keep blowing shit up, motherfucker. So anyway shooting strangers with an AK-47 or blowing up a nightclub in Paris because you're pissed off that you got the wrong end of the stick religiously or politically is not the way that normal people solve their problems and you want to fucking defend your goddamn religion? If it wasn't for this religion, this particular religion, all of these stories are fictitious and made up, there is no invisible, supernatural supreme being, all the stories are bullshit, but yours is the one that people are killing people over, so it's the one I'm going to like the least and there's nothing that you can really do about that because the team that I play for, the atheists, don't fucking kill anybody or blow anybody up, so don't be sending me emails telling me that I need to modify my opinion, motherfucker. How about a large order of fish heads for you? That's my response to you, I don't give a shit."
The problem with Cornette is that he's so arrogant that he believes his opinions to be infallible that he's unwilling to think that it's possible that he might be mistaken and his kneejerk reaction to any criticism is to resort to childish name calling and cut a promo on those poor souls brave enough to challenge his misguided viewpoints.
That's problematic even when he's targeting much-maligned figures in the wrestling business like Kevin Dunn, as his rants often descend into mean-spirited bullying, but here he's caricaturing a whole religion and preaching Islamophobia (specifically, in his case, the incorrect beliefs that Islam as a religion is inferior to the West, that it's archaic, barbaric, and irrational, and that it is a religion of violence).
Cornette is certainly free to hold those beliefs and rationalise that it's somehow OK to look at Muslims sideways, but the MLW website also doesn't have to give him a platform to spread his fear and prejudice on unsuspecting wrestling fans. Let him talk about wrestling till the cows come home, just leave the uninformed religious talk on the cutting room floor! This isn't political debate, this is poisonous propaganda and Cornette should be called out for it, even if he's your friend, idol or employee.
Before this column, to the best of my knowledge, the only person to truly take a stand on this issue was Alice Radley who (somewhat) amicably stood down as a producer on Cornette's show (partly) because she didn't want people to think she agreed with or approved of his anti-Muslim rhetoric. Although Cornette said that he had apologised to Alice on his latest podcast for ramping up his vitriol to make her squirm and to make some "entertaining" radio, he cluelessly still didn't realise why his views were so offensive in the first place! Some people never learn.
Update: Earlier today, MLW posted the following statement on their official Facebook page.
"Following the comments made on the Jim Cornette Experience, we here at MLW felt it was important to clarify the position of MLW Radio:
Like every podcast, the views, opinions and positions expressed by Jim Cornette are his alone, and do not reflect the views, opinions or positions of MLW or anyone involved with the podcasts.
We strongly support freedom of speech but equally, tolerance and acceptance of all faiths, ethnicity, race, sexual preference or otherwise.
There are many at MLW Radio who have friends that are Muslim and have seen the hardships they’ve had to endure as a result of Islamophobia.
It is our goal to find peace in this through understanding and acceptance of others and we will work to do so in this case."