Tony Khan has been the subject of backlash lately after allegations were thrown his way by ex-wrestler Big Swole. Swole made the allegations online, suggesting that Tony Khan’s AEW product is not racially diverse enough.
In defense, Khan would tweet a response suggesting that the company is racially diverse and the fact that he didn’t re-sign her was simply because she wasn’t good enough to be wrestling on his roster. This response started the aforementioned backlash, but at the same time an outcry of support was also felt from some fans—quite a number of them it would turn out—and some of the members from his very own roster.
One huge critic of what Khan said was Lio Rush, who requested on social media, that Khan apologize for what he said about Swole…these comments have since been changed, or rather Rush backpedaled considerably since making them, he changing the scope of his words.
One such member of his roster that came to Khan’s defense instead, was a member of Team Taz, Powerhouse Hobbs. He made a statement, a public one, that showed just how diverse his boss, Tony Khan actually is in his opinion, and just how much support Hobbs has for him. He said:
“There is so much that goes into AEW that those online don’t see.
It often flies under the radar that Tony and Megha are people of color, and having them in charge of AEW represents progress for pro wrestling. I see firsthand how hard they’re working to make wrestling more diverse.
I want you all to know that I consider Tony and Megha family, and I’m disappointed to see their efforts dismissed. People have no idea the time and effort it takes to put shows on and to make AEW an open environment where people like me are seen and heard.
Tony works hand in hand with people of color on the roster all the time about their story ideas, input, matches, etc. Not every idea will work, but every idea is listened to and valued. My personal voice has been heard and I’ve had input for many of my opportunities. As a Black male, I plan on using my voice to do what I can to make sure that this company is diverse. I’m also very aware that diversity comes in many forms – Women, Black, Latinx, East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, LGBTQ+ and more. The more diversity, equity and inclusion we can build in wrestling, the more fans we can engage with, and the more fun we can all have together.
AEW is a young company led by people of color heading in the right direction. I’m proud to be a part of that momentum, and I know my colleagues stand beside me when I say that.
– Will Hobbs”via Will Hobbs /Twitter
In the end, it’s easy to throw accusations around. What’s hard is finding those that are willing to back you up in the face of adversity, which Hobbs evidently did, which takes courage; especially in moments such as these.