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The W - Pro Wrestling - Ivory makes racist comment against Arab-Americans on Heat?
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Alessandro
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Worcester MA

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.04
Did anyone catch Ivory's comments during "Heat" when the conversation turned to Mohammad Hassan's upcoming debut on RAW?

Maybe someone who taped the show can give me a better transcript, but I believe it went something like this:

TODD GRISHAM: Mohammad Hassan makes his in-ring debut tomorrow night on RAW!

IVORY: Will you be at RAW tomorrow?

TG: Well yeah, I'm taking the bus (?) ...

I: Well, all I'm saying is that you might not wanna take a plane, if you know what I mean ...


Okay, now I REALLY hope that I just wasn't listening closely enough and I'm misquoting her here, but it sure sounded like Ivory was implying that people better not travel by air to catch RAW tonight in Huntsville, or else Hassan will hijack your airplane and fly it into a building ... Yeah, I really REALLY hope I misunderstood her on that one.

Seriously, wasn't the WWE using buzzwords like "understanding" and "coming to grips with 9/11" on its website when trying to justify the debut of the Hassan character? It almost seemed like the WWE would debut Hassan as a sympathetic character, someone who's simply trying to make a living while dealing with the prejudices suffered in the locker room (JBL, anyone?) due to his ethnic background ... Instead, it looks like we'll be getting just another anti-American stereotype for the crowd to chant "USA! USA!" at (if not evidenced by the more heelish promos he's been delivering, then certainly from comments like this).

Forget "I think I screwed her brains out"; THIS is now the most disgusting comment I've ever heard on WWF/WWE programming ...






Alessandro Magno (that's "Alexander the Great" to all y'all bitches! Colin Farrell ain't got nuthin' on me!)




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Since: 27.1.04
From: Philly

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.02
The only issue here is where should the anger be pointed at. Either Ivory was fed the comment from someone in the back IE Kevin Dunn or Vince or she said it on her own. No matter what it's wrong but really what else did you expect?
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Since: 25.7.04
From: Canada

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.39
I'm not going to pass judgement on this until I actually see him in the ring, on the mic...

If he doesn't address what was said at all, then I definitely have a problem with it.

If he addresses it by screaming a lot, yelling JIHAD!, and generally making a stereotyped ass out of himself, I have a huge problem with it.

But, if he addresses it with dignity, grace, and a little bit of indignance, without being your typical abrasive "I hate america" heel, I think it will work.

But, WWE/F has a horrid track record dealing with racial issues. I'm hoping for option 3, expecting option 1, and dreading option 2.

I mean, they could use this sort of thing to build sympathy for him -- invite Ivory and Grisham into the ring, have everything seem to lead up to a heel beatdown on them... then have him give them a condescending tongue lashing instead, about how they disgust him with their racism, etc.

It could work. But again, I'm not holding my breath.
Oliver
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Since: 20.6.02
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.75
I think everyone was expecting the WWE to be all PC about this, but come on - when has that really happened? The WWE has a terrible record when it comes to that - I mean, during the first Gulf War, they booked the all American Hero, Sgt. Slaughter, as a Iraqi sympathiser, who wore boots that were a gift from Saddam Hussein...AND after the 9/11 attacks, Stephanie McMahon appeared on Smackdown, saying that a few years prior, people tried to destroy her family...ruin her parents' reputation and the (then) WWF but it only made them
stronger. Stephanie saaid that now it happened to America but Americans are united as people and she was proud to be an American and will stand up for her rights.

Yup - a national tragedy, all fodder for the strife that encompassed the McMahons family a number of years ago.

My point: if you're expecting the WWE to be media sweethearts with this, you're mistaken. This could turn out to be good (like how the Eugene character did) but I seriously doubt that. They're gonna be so politically incorrect, Bill Maher will cry copyright infringement.



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Since: 10.1.03
From: Enter your city here

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.38
I don't see the racism in the comment. They are after all promoting a heel Arab, no doubt playing to post 9-11 fears to draw heat. And if you playing to post 9-11 fears, your going to make 9-11'ish references such as that.

You can argue the character is racist, or not politically correct enough for you taste. But no use going apeshit on Ivory or the announce team for putting the guy over in the proper context.

Then again I grew up on Bobby Hennan calling Tito Santana matches. What a much simpler time! I could just imagine how much heat the "flying burrito" would get now.
thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
From: Aurora, IL

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00
Transcript!

Ivory: "You're going to be there, right?"
Todd: "Yea."
Ivory: "I'm just asking - how you going to get to Huntsville?"
Todd: "I'm driving."
Ivory: "Good. Because I don't want you to be flying. HAHAhaha- If you get my drift!"

-----

Mitigating factors after sleeping on it

1) On live TV when filling time, you inevitably say things you regret because they sounded smart/funny in your head, and don't translate so well when it's said out loud

2) Ivory constantly talks before she thinks. It's who Ivory is. Doesn't mean she meant it if you asked her today.

3) Doesn't that back up everything Hassan has said? Which is usually grounds for the start of an angle...

-----

I believe it was just a joke gone horribly wrong on Ivory's part. If it was, all she needs to do is say "Sorry. That was pretty dumb. Will try not to be so dumb in the future." and it's fine.

The exact opposite of fine would be to turn it into an angle tonight, with JR and Lawler blasting Hassan for being over sensitive.

The probability of any of those outcomes

10% Apology (90% chance it'd happen off air or on Experience, which is pretty much off air)
30% Angled
60% Never Mentioned Again

What I fear is WWE doesn't really understand the character they've created; it's not an Arab Terrorist, it's a Arab who feels unfairly discriminated against because the world contains Arab Terrorists. That's a subtle distinction in the WWE universe, and if the people being paid to get over the characters and storylines can't grasp the difference, I wouldn't expect most of the fans to get it.



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Since: 17.11.03
From: Tallahassee, FL

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.60
    Originally posted by thecubsfan
    What I fear is WWE doesn't really understand the character they've created; it's not an Arab Terrorist, it's a Arab who feels unfairly discriminated against because the world contains Arab Terrorists. That's a subtle distinction in the WWE universe, and if the people being paid to get over the characters and storylines can't grasp the difference, I wouldn't expect most of the fans to get it.


The fan reactions so far at the RAW shows would imply that there's a number of fans that don't understand the difference. In spite of where the character has been so far and clearly explaining his point, there's been lots and lots of "BOOOOOOOOOOOO TOWELHEAD...U!S!A!".

(edited by Blanket Jackson on 13.12.04 1054)


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Since: 8.5.03
From: North Carolina

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.37
I have even more pessimism and dread about this as-yet-unproven angle as any my little online smark eyes have beheld.





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GRL
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Since: 13.7.02
From: Austin

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.92
My biggest concern seems to be shared by many on here already: that this will eventually dumb itself down into "USA! USA!" whenever he's in the ring, whereas my hopes were for an intelligent and sensitive character that was extremely disillusioned with the stereotypical treatment against Arab-Americans.

This could have been done so well, and I had and possibly still have such high hopes for it. As for the WWE's history of cluelessness and insensitivity, my only argument could be the passing of time and hopeful maturity of those involved. During the Sgt. Slaughter heyday, the pulse of the nation was a bit different (I want to whisper the word naive) about the political environments our country existed in. It's a different time now, from my experiences.

As for the Stephanie comments, I attribute that to the simple fact that that girl shouldn't be on T.V. EVER.

Though, I wonder - exactly how long does an angle like this have life for? I'm not sure I envision a future where Hassan wins the World Title. "I have been treated so terribly and wronged by so many people because of my ethnicity, but now I'm World Champion!" Then what? Then we get "Booooo, Towelheads! USA!"

Such high hopes. I look forward to Raw anyway and his debut, because until they bring him out and have him make out with Mae Young in a red, white, and blue bikini, I'll still have that fantasy booking to go on.



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Andouille








Since: 5.3.03
From: TORONTO

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.58
I would love it, just to silence everyone who's complaining about this gimmick before it begins (horrible comment by Ivory notwithstanding), if they started booking Hassan as a face.

I don't know *how* it could be accomplished... maybe some sort of disagreement with La Resistance or something (Hassan IS an American, after all)... but damn, would that not shut a lot of people up?

Not only that, but if WWE wanted to make a positive statement for a change, they could show you that "Hey, here's an Arab-American. It's okay to cheer him." If Vince McMahon truly wants to be ballsy, there's a great way to go about it, not just reinforcing stereotypes that, really, anyone could do....



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Since: 8.5.03
From: North Carolina

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.37
    Originally posted by CANADIAN BULLDOG
    Not only that, but if WWE wanted to make a positive statement for a change, they could show you that "Hey, here's an Arab-American. It's okay to cheer him." If Vince McMahon truly wants to be ballsy, there's a great way to go about it, not just reinforcing stereotypes that, really, anyone could do....


Vince could easily have done that by eliminating the "my people have suffered, and you will know our wrath" rhetoric. No matter how valid that stance may be outside of wrestling, it wasn't the only manner in which Hassan could have been introduced to the WWE. It needn't be the route they took or the role he plays. Just bring Hassan out, and book him as a face. Have him defend Eugene from Maven. Feud with Simon Dean. Save Lita from Tomko or Gene. The character's background and political stance didn't have to enter into the character AT ALL.



"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
LionJeetSingh
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Since: 3.3.03

Since last post: 3213 days
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.01
    Originally posted by Matt Tracker
      Originally posted by CANADIAN BULLDOG
      Not only that, but if WWE wanted to make a positive statement for a change, they could show you that "Hey, here's an Arab-American. It's okay to cheer him." If Vince McMahon truly wants to be ballsy, there's a great way to go about it, not just reinforcing stereotypes that, really, anyone could do....


    Vince could easily have done that by eliminating the "my people have suffered, and you will know our wrath" rhetoric. No matter how valid that stance may be outside of wrestling, it wasn't the only manner in which Hassan could have been introduced to the WWE. It needn't be the route they took or the role he plays. Just bring Hassan out, and book him as a face. Have him defend Eugene from Maven. Feud with Simon Dean. Save Lita from Tomko or Gene. The character's background and political stance didn't have to enter into the character AT ALL.


That would defeat the purpose. The character is suppossed to be controversial and get people talking, which it already has.

Also, I'm not sure if it has offended anyone besides the PC crowd. I have a lot of Muslim friends and they find Hassan to be hillarious. My Persian friend pointed out that Davari (sp?) is speaking Farsi (very poorly, he says), not Arabic.

Just an observation.

Even the original Shiek was 10 times more offensive than this.

(edited by LionJeetSingh on 13.12.04 1027)


Vut Joo Talkin?
Matt Tracker
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Since: 8.5.03
From: North Carolina

Since last post: 1 day
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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.37
    Originally posted by LionJeetSingh
    Also, I'm not sure if it has offended anyone besides the PC crowd. I have a lot of Muslim friends and they find Hassan to be hillarious. My Persian friend pointed out that Davari (sp?) is speaking Farsi (very poorly, he says), not Arabic.

    Just an observation.

    Even the original Shiek was 10 times more offensive than this.


I'm not offeneded by him. I'm worried some of my fellow Southerners are going to get hammered at a show and prove their bigoted manhood by attacking the guy.

And I have what may be a indelicate question: Is the name "Hassan Mohammed" supposed to tell us that he's Arabic or specifically Muslim? Not that the WWE might see the difference, of course.



"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
LionJeetSingh
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Since: 3.3.03

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.01
The name would only imply that he's Muslim. Had he not stated that he's Arab American, Hassan could have been assumed to be of any nationality.



Vut Joo Talkin?
Peter The Hegemon
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Since: 11.2.03
From: Hackettstown, NJ

Since last post: 5 days
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#15 Posted on
    Originally posted by GRL
    My biggest concern seems to be shared by many on here already: that this will eventually dumb itself down into "USA! USA!" whenever he's in the ring, whereas my hopes were for an intelligent and sensitive character that was extremely disillusioned with the stereotypical treatment against Arab-Americans.




"Eventually"?

I'd be willing to bet that there will be "USA" chants the very first time Hassan appears in the ring. (I believe, in fact, that there have usually been such cheers when he's appeared at house shows.) Heck, I'd be very surprised if he gets a chance to start his promo/match before the chants are heard.
Matt Tracker
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Since: 8.5.03
From: North Carolina

Since last post: 1 day
Last activity: 3 hours
#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.37
    Originally posted by LionJeetSingh
    The name would only imply that he's Muslim. Had he not stated that he's Arab American, Hassan could have been assumed to be of any nationality.


He gave a promo about two weeks ago, maybe three, where he showed his physique, and I noticed his tattoos. My gal and I got into an argument of whether the crowd would know or make a distinction between Muslim and Arabic and whether the tattoos suggested his character wasn't orthodox. She said I was looking to carefully at the gimmick. I argued I was trying to find some idea of how sharply defined his gimmick would be.

I don't want a telanted performer to be saddled with an unwieldly gimmick. I feel bad for Simon Dean. I mean, he has a WWE gig, and congrats to him for making it this far. But he has to project a horrible character, a weak character that has no apparent connection to wrestling (He'll reduce your fat BY BEATING IT OFF YOU!).

And here's a guy presented as Hassan. He could be freaking great, a real competent performer. But I don't know that we'd get to see it. So many heels (like Simon) have to hide their repertoire so the crowd doesn't have something to applaud when they act. He's got a WWE gig. Good for him. His work has paid off. But is going to be more than just an excuse for the WWE to present an ethnic/religious heel for the crwod to jeer? Will he be allowed to perform to his ability? Will we get a chance to see the performer or just the gimmick?

And, yeah, is some dumb audience member gonna do something stupid to get this character (and the performer) yanked from the roster?






"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
sentonBOMB
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Since: 25.11.02
From: Jersey

Since last post: 1882 days
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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.23
    Originally posted by SOK
    I think everyone was expecting the WWE to be all PC about this, but come on - when has that really happened? The WWE has a terrible record when it comes to that - I mean, during the first Gulf War, they booked the all American Hero, Sgt. Slaughter, as a Iraqi sympathiser, who wore boots that were a gift from Saddam Hussein...AND after the 9/11 attacks, Stephanie McMahon appeared on Smackdown, saying that a few years prior, people tried to destroy her family...ruin her parents' reputation and the (then) WWF but it only made them
    stronger. Stephanie saaid that now it happened to America but Americans are united as people and she was proud to be an American and will stand up for her rights.

    Yup - a national tragedy, all fodder for the strife that encompassed the McMahons family a number of years ago.

    My point: if you're expecting the WWE to be media sweethearts with this, you're mistaken. This could turn out to be good (like how the Eugene character did) but I seriously doubt that. They're gonna be so politically incorrect, Bill Maher will cry copyright infringement.


Out of curiosity, how did the Eugene character "turn out to be good"? I'm still offended.
Alessandro
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Worcester MA

Since last post: 40 days
Last activity: 18 days
#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.04
    Originally posted by Peter The Hegemon
    "Eventually"?

    I'd be willing to bet that there will be "USA" chants the very first time Hassan appears in the ring.


When his appearance on the TitanTron interrupted the Diva limbo competition last week, there were ALREADY some (albeit weak) "USA! USA!" chants to be heard from the live crowd ... which is kind of silly, when you think of how he's kept repeating "I'm an Arab American! I'm an Arab American!" in all of his promos thus far.

It's like the crowd is saying "But you're not OUR type of American" with those chants ... and that makes me squirm in my seat ever so much.



(edited by Alessandro on 13.12.04 1438)



Alessandro Magno (that's "Alexander the Great" to all y'all bitches! Colin Farrell ain't got nuthin' on me!)




redsoxnation
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Since: 24.7.02

Since last post: 387 days
Last activity: 387 days
#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.45
Any chance they had of trying to build him up as a face they lost a few weeks ago when they switched him from saying the 'right thing' while his manager would rant in a foreign language to his 'lashing out' at the American people/crowd. If they are going to go heel with him, they have to do it full blown. And, it might be offensive, but through the years, that has always drawn heat. Burying guys in the South under the Soviet flag, the evil Nazi 30-40 years after World War II, the sneaky Japanese wrestler, they've all worked.
And, on the Slaughter angle: Vince fell into that one. Slaughter started appearing on WWF TV a week before Iraq invaded Kuwait in vignettes where he was disgusted that the Boy Scouts and America would honor a commie like Nikolai Volkov, and that he would beat people into remembering not to trust a commie. In short, he was doing an angle similar to Dick Murdoch in the NWA a few years earlier where Captain Redneck aligned with Ivan Koloff because at least he knew where he stood, where as his old friend the American Dream Dusty Rhodes had accepted the fact that Nikita Koloff had seen the light.
Then, the Iraq situation started, and Slaughter became an Iraqi sympathizer overnight.



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Since: 17.10.04
From: Bloomington, IL

Since last post: 2207 days
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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.02
    Originally posted by LionJeetSingh
    The character is suppossed to be controversial and get people talking, which it already has.


It's supposed to get people talking about how brilliant WWE is and how awesome this new gimmick is. Instead it's gotten people talking about how dangerous this gimmick is and how much trouble WWE is going to get into.

    Originally posted by LionJeetSingh
    I have a lot of Muslim friends and they find Hassan to be hillarious. My Persian friend pointed out that Davari (sp?) is speaking Farsi (very poorly, he says), not Arabic.


Case in point. WWE's trying to make this gimmick thought-provoking, but the only thought provoked is that this gimmick is poorly executed.

Hassan doesn't offend me, because I'm far enough removed from the issues he's based on to see through the promos down to WWE's stated concept. What irritates me about him is that he's going to offend somebody, and when WWE is forced to defend itself the company will (as usual) only dig itself into a deeper hole. I'm not nearly as worried that Hassan will reinforce negative stereotypes about Arab-Americans as I am that he'll reinforce negative stereotypes about wrestling fans.
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