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WWE proves that they can't be trusted on the anti-bullying issue AGAIN

On the same day as WWE announced a new anti-bullying partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Vince McMahon scripted Lana to be "slut-shamed" by The Rock on Monday Night Raw reportedly as punishment for a backstage slight. Need I say more?

Lana is in the WWE doghouse again, if you didn't guess already.
Lana is in the WWE doghouse again, if you didn't guess already.

The contrast between the two halves of WWE, the Vince McMahon led creative core and their sponsor friendly corporate crust may never have been more glaring than it was yesterday.

Hours before The Rock returned to Monday Night Raw with his dated misogynistic and sexist shtick, WWE publicists had a field day, as they announced a new anti-bullying partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA):

"Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a multi-year, national partnership designed to further enhance youth development at local Clubs across the country. The new partnership focuses on bullying prevention efforts around Be a STAR, WWE’s anti-bullying initiative, and its mission to encourage young people to treat each other with respect through education and grassroots initiatives.

WWE Superstars and Divas, many of whom are Boys & Girls Club alumni, will participate in anti-bullying rallies at local Clubs across the U.S. where they will interact with local youth, share their personal experiences, and distribute Be a STAR resources and materials. Since 2011, WWE has held more than 100 anti-bullying rallies and Be a STAR’s resources and programs have reached more than 300,000 children globally.

To support Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s mission, WWE will utilize its global platforms including WWE Network and TV broadcasts, live events, digital, social media and TV production, to generate awareness and raise funds for the organization. Additionally, WWE will make a financial contribution to support BGCA and the 4,500 Clubs across the U.S.

"We are pleased to partner with Vince McMahon, a Boys & Girls Club alum, and the WWE organization to educate Club youth around bullying prevention," said Jim Clark, BGCA president & CEO. "Each day, Club professionals work to create a safe environment that empowers the nearly 4 million kids and teens that attend our Clubs. Thanks to partners like WWE, we can elevate important issues like bullying and equip our youth with the skills they need to navigate successfully to a great future."

"WWE is proud to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and support their efforts to build future leaders," said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. "As a proud Boys & Girls Club Alumnus, I know the difference this organization makes in the lives of our youth."

WWE is committed to leveraging the power of its brand and platforms to help address important social issues worldwide including diversity and inclusion, education, military support and providing hope to those in need. Through partnerships with Special Olympics, Ad Council, Connor’s Cure, GLAAD, First Book, Susan G. Komen, Make-A-Wish, Hire Heroes USA and USO Metro, WWE supports programs and initiatives that positively impact children and families around the world."

What perfect timing to prove that WWE can't be trusted on the anti-bullying issue again, even when they should theoretically be on their best behavior, as you don't want to embarrass your new partners on the day of your big announcement.

The usual excuse that Stephanie McMahon trots out whenever she's faced with the paradox of how WWE can be anti-bullying when their storylines are chock full of it, like she did to The Big Story today, namely that pro wrestling is scripted fiction and that she portrays a bullying villain on TV specifically to send the message to children that bullying is bad, doesn't hold water here. The Rock was cast as the returning hero, but he was scripted to slut-shame (I don't like that particular phrase, but that's exactly what it was) female manager Lana in front of her onscreen and off-screen fiancé Rusev, whilst they just stood there and took the abuse. What positive message does that story send to young boys and girls?

That would be bad enough, but according to Dave Meltzer on his latest Wrestling Observer Radio show, this was the latest example of Vince McMahon's penchant for bullying his performers by writing demeaning angles for their onscreen character in order to get back at them for some backstage slight:

"This was something wasn't it? I mean just everything, everything, everything, it's like man we're getting back at you [Lana (real name: C.J. Perry)] for everything now. But she got to be on TV. By the way, there was another thing that happened with her and I don't know all the details, but it has added to her legacy so to speak. Something happened where, you know, she said something. It's probably nothing except everyone is talking about it and essentially she's got the new round [of heat]. If people had calmed down about her and just said 'well, OK, she made a mistake,' well they haven't. I don't know if that played any part in this. I was just told about it tonight after the show and it was actually by someone who had not even watched the show, but had heard the story, just saying that like there's a new round of heat, everyone likes Rusev and there was something, and, you know, they are just mad at her again. They're not mad at him. Him doing the job tonight had nothing to do with it. They're not mad at him, but they're mad at her."

Whatever Perry did "wrong" (and it could just be Vince having lingering resentment over Perry posting Instagram pictures last October showing her wearing a new engagement ring whilst being broken up with Rusev on TV), I think we can all agree that the leader of a company that espouses to be anti-bullying should not be behaving in such a manner. If there was a genuine reason to punish her, keep her off TV for the night or fine her, rather than purposefully making her squirm on the air, whilst also sending a negative message to impressionable young viewers.

But WWE will likely never change whilst Vince McMahon is in charge. Nor do they have to. The onus is on their anti-bullying partners to say enough is enough, that they're not going to continue to provide corporate cover for a company whose heroes are often scripted to be sexist bullies and for a boss who often bullies his performers through the power of his booking pen.

Update - Rusev breaks character on Twitter presumably to debunk Meltzer's most recent reporting:

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