Rick Steiner will no longer be appearing at WrestleCon Detroit.
Just two days after defending their decision to allow Steiner to be booked for the convention, WrestleCon announced that they've revoked their permission for Steiner to attend. The decision stems from an incident where Steiner "verbally accosted" Impact Wrestling's Gisele Shaw at WrestleCon earlier this year and directed transphobic insults at her.
WrestleCon noted that they initially approved Steiner's appearance for the Detroit convention because they believe everyone deserves a second chance, because Steiner privately apologized to those who chose to be present (Shaw did not attend the apology), and because the convention "lacked any type of code of conduct/harassment policy that clearly defined our expectations as a convention participant." But after speaking with Brian Bell of the website Outsports, WrestleCon agreed that there needed to be, at minimum, a public acknowledgment/apology from Steiner. WrestleCon gave Steiner 24 hours to make a statement, but he hasn't made one and WrestleCon doesn't expect him to make one.
"Because we understand this issue required great urgency, we gave Rick Steiner 24 hours to make such a statement," WrestleCon wrote. "Unfortunately, there is not currently and we do not expect to receive such a statement, and we have therefore made a decision to revoke our permission for him to attend."
Shaw came out as transgender in 2022.
In addition to the verbal abuse that Steiner directed at her, Shaw also stated that one of her peers from Impact Wrestling was called a homophobic slur by Steiner at WrestleCon.
WrestleCon wrote that they've created a first draft of a code of conduct and anti-harassment policy for the convention. They're partnering with Starrcast, Wrestlecade, and The Gathering (Charlotte Fanfest), who have all agreed to adopt a similar policy for their events.
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WrestleCon Detroit is taking place from August 4-5. It's happening in Detroit at the same time as SummerSlam weekend.
The full statement from WrestleCon can be read below:
Attention: Rick Steiner has been removed from Wrestlecon.
When we allowed Rick Steiner to return to our Convention as a vendor guest of Tony Hunter Promotions, we did not adequately take into account the impact his past words from our last event still held in the LGBTQIA+ community. We initially allowed him to return because 1) We still feel that people deserve a second chance. 2) Rick did make an apology to all parties that chose to be present. 3) We lacked any type of code of conduct/harassment policy that clearly defined our expectations as a convention participant.
After a thoughtful dialogue with Brian Bell from SB Nation's Outsports and host of the LGBT In the Ring podcast on Monday morning, we agreed with his opinion it was necessary to have some type of public acknowledgment/apology from Rick Steiner, at an absolute minimum, to allow him to attend Detroit. Because we understand this issue required great urgency, we gave Rick Steiner 24 hours to make such a statement. Unfortunately, there is not currently and we do not expect to receive such a statement, and we have therefore made a decision to revoke our permission for him to attend.
Additionally, we now have created a first draft of our Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment policy that will be posted on our website for everybody to see later today. We will continue to improve upon this code of conduct over time and with the cooperation of others. We understand and appreciate that there will be many differences of opinion among our participants and we want to create a safe and enjoyable space for everybody at our Conventions. At this time, we have partnered in solidarity with other Wrestling industry Convention leaders, notably Starrcast, Wrestlecade, and The Gathering (Charlotte Fanfest) who also agree to adopt and adhere to a similar code of conduct for their events.