Editorial Columns

Lars Sullivan vs. The Internet

Joseph Kingsley-Nyinah gives his thoughts on Lars Sullivan and his latest controversy online.

We reside in a digital age and for all it amplifies our weaknesses as a species, there is a phrase thrown about: “the internet is undefeated”.

In the context of an anonymous user of the information superhighway doing their utmost to ensure an unsavoury individual gets their comeuppance, there is no better meme. And last week, the internet came for one Dylan Miley, better known to you as “The Freak” Lars Sullivan.

User /u/farcevacant on subreddit r/SquaredCircle compiled a comprehensive list of everything unsavoury ever said by the man on that bastion of decency known as the bodybuilding.com forums. Along with irrefutable proof it was Mr Sullivan, this included racism against African Americans, Hispanic people and those from the Middle East; misidentifying Japanese people as Chinese; homophobia and questionable stances on rape; various opinions on politics, fast food outlets and various wrestling personalities and – my personal favourite – unfortunate comments on mental health.

My guy did more bits than Ivan Rakitic.

Not only was this posted on probably the biggest wrestling message board in the world, certain other Good Samaritans decided to draw the attention of some of his current colleagues to The Freak’s transgressions. Big E (bless him AND Mama Lynch) was about as outspoken as you’d expect him to be…

Many are aware. If true, he has to bear the albatross of being a bigot & working in a company that is now filled with minorities.— Florida Man (@WWEBigE) May 8, 2019

Kalisto was also asked for his opinion, but deleted his reply. Unfortunately for him… the internet is undefeated.

The uproar could not go without response, and Lars eventually issued this statement:

“There is no excuse for the inappropriate remarks that I made years ago.

“They do not reflect my personal beliefs nor who I am today, and I apologise to anyone I offended.”

Fine. People can change, despite what “cancel culture” will tell you. This should be the end of this farce – Dylan Miley, before and at the start of his WWE contract, chatted shit on the internet and paid for it – who reading this hasn’t? Karma even got him in real life: after those mental health comments, he reportedly suffered an anxiety attack that delayed his Raw debut for months. He even had to put out this statement:

Un. De. Feat. Ed.

So, why are we here? We’re here because the statement above is actually WWE’s on behalf of Lars Sullivan and that their long term stance on this furore, reportedly, is to wait for it all blow over. That’s terrible, because it makes Lars’ apology look like it was made only because some of his slander was aimed at current management. Because it looks like they’re letting what would be a sackable offence in any other business setting slide. Because it solidifies their stance as hypocrites after welcoming back a certain retired Superstar, brother.

At the time of writing, Lars is on the European tour but hasn’t been seen on TV, despite being smeared upon the weekly shows before beating up African American, Hispanic and Middle Eastern Superstars (yikes). Here’s hoping that something, anything, forces the WWE to do the right thing. Though with them already shamelessly promoting their next Saudi Arabian show, this seems unlikely unless it affects their bottom line.

What’s that? Someone told Snickers? And they’ve issued a statement?

“We learned of Lars Sullivan’s comments recently and share in your shock and disgust. As a values-based company, we find his behavior abhorrent and unacceptable. We have engaged the WWE to discuss this situation and seek to understand what actions they will take to swiftly address this matter.”

Looks like the internet’s streak may stay unbroken.

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