Teaching Fans To Bully

For as long as there’s been wrestling, promoters, organizers, and wrestlers, they have all worked together to create and hone personas meant to polarize fans that are passionate about drawing lines and cheering their heroes’ on to humiliating their opponents.  Wrestling has become big business over the decades, and dirty tricks have always been part of the business.

Whether it was staged or unexpected, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson serenaded Vickie Guerrero with Eric Clapton‘s “Wonderful Tonight” with rewritten lyrics, the entertainment value that has always been a large part of wrestling took a hit.   The message sent to young fans seemed to be one that supported bullying, regardless of whether that’s what was intended.

It sent the message that if you dislike someone, and if you can get popular opinion on your side, it’s okay to bully another person.

It doesn’t matter if the script calls for wrestling heroes and personalities to stoop lower than anyone could imagine to score points, it’s important to know where to draw the line. It would seem, however, that the line isn’t being drawn where the WWE is concerned.  In fact, if anything, they seem to be promoting the concept that bullying is fine as long as a group of people dislike the target that’s being bullied.

Those teens and adults who understand the “story line” involving Vickie Guerrero — the target of bullying by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — know that her job was to make fans hate her as much as they had loved her late husband, Eddie Guerrero.  Without a doubt, she is an incredible performer and fans, old and young alike, bought into her performances.  She made people believe she was one of the most hated women in wrestling history.

However, despite the fact that it was scripted animosity and enmity, young children who aren’t able to discern fiction from reality came away from watching those performances between WWE actors believing that if bullying was okay with their wrestling heroes, then it was okay for them to take that to school and victimize someone they didn’t like.

Is this the message the entertainment industry — and more specifically, the WWE — wants to send to young fans?

With all the anti-bullying awareness on social media and in mainstream media, isn’t it time for those in the entertainment industry who glorify bullying to take a real stand against bullying and stop scripting it into their shows?  If kids can’t count on their heroes to take a stand against bullying, why should they take a stand against bullying?  After all, what kid doesn’t want to be just like their hero … even one who bullies people he or she really hates?

Elyse Bruce

One Response to “Teaching Fans To Bully”

  1. cairennhouse Says:

    Well said, Elyse. Think of all the good these popular icons could do to help kids understand how damaging it is to bully someone. Whether they like it or not, celebrities DO have a responsibility to their fans, especially when those fans are kids.

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