AEW President Tony Khan is under criticism following his response to comments made by Big Swole regarding diversity within the promotion.
I explained to TK (Tony Khan) that I didn’t want to re-sign because my peace was being disrupted. If anybody knows me or knows myself, if anything is disrupting your peace, it’s time to let it go. It might be scared or be hard, but it’s time to let it go. When Kenny said that, it was the circle coming to an end because Kenny and I would bump heads sometimes throughout my time in AEW. To end it on that note felt good. It felt wonderful to end it at a place where, we didn’t see eye-to-eye, but we were there.
Regarding the subject of diversity within AEW, Swole provided the following opinion about the structure of the company:
I do not beat around the bush when it comes to diversity and my people. There is no representation, truly, and when there is, it does not come across in the black community as genuine. At all. I don’t know why everybody is so afraid to accept it or say it, but it’s not a good look. What happens is, you have this wonderful company that treats people like family, but there is nobody that looks like me that is represented at the top and in the room with them. They are not helping to necessarily influence decisions, but to explain why certain slang and certain word shouldn’t be said. There is no one else who can explain our culture and experience except for us.
I believe that the company is making better strides than before, but a couple of things need to be fixed. You have to be able to call people out because not everything is perfect. I hope they listen to this with an open heart and not just, ‘Ah, she’s just saying this because of XYZ.’ I genuinely want them to succeed. I love this art form. I love wrestling and I want it to succeed and I want the people in it to succeed if they are genuine people. I want WWE to succeed. I want wrestling to flourish and I don’t want it to be a long-forgotten, Tartarian sport where ‘in the old days, we used to wrestle,’ and it’s folklore. I want nothing but the best, but I also want the change and application to happen. With promises you made to be diverse, I want to see that. Not just with black people. I would love to see a Latino or Hispanic or more Asians. I feel like Asians and Indians do not get the love. They just don’t. It’s such a big gap. I hate the fact that I turn on the TV and it’s the same stuff over and over again. Hopefully, they get the message. Me leaving, honestly, was not bad. There is no bad blood between TK and I. I just don’t like my peace being disrupted. I didn’t like certain things and other things that I will take to my grave. The diversity. That’s what matters.
Tony Khan issued a response on Friday evening by quote tweeting an article by Fightful recapping the comments by Big Swole.
The top 2 @AEW execs are brown (me & Megha)!! Jade, Bowens, Caster, Dante, Nyla, Isiah & Marq Quen all won on tv this month. The TBS Title Tournament has been very diverse. I let Swole’s contract expire as I felt her wrestling wasn’t good enough. #AEWRampage Street Fight TONIGHT! https://t.co/NprF6I7D6G
— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) January 1, 2022
The response to Khan’s tweet has been a contentious issue with some believing Big Swole is owed an apology while others within AEW have publicly defended Khan for the strides made in the company.
The knock against Big Swole’s wrestling ability upset many people with attention drawn to comments Khan made in the past where he praised her as a “great wrestler” while she worked for the company.
The subject of diversity within AEW has been a source of criticism for onlookers with this exchange reopening the subject.