WWE wrestler Braun Strowman drew criticism from fans over the weekend after he directed a homophobic slur at a Twitter user amid an insult-laden rant in response to his criticism of smaller, high-flying pro wrestlers.
The ordeal stemmed from a tweet made by Strowman, real name Adam Scherr, during his return flight from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia following WWE’s latest Saudi-funded “Crown Jewel” event Saturday. The super heavyweight Strowman wrestled fellow giant Omos on the show and praised the match on Twitter, while taking shots at more agile performers.
“Giants and Monster > flippy flipper bag your grocery’s (sic) at #Kroger,” he said in the since-deleted tweet.
The comment sparked a back-and-forth of insults and comments between Strowman, other wrestlers and fans, but his comments eventually crossed the line into homophobia.
In response to a meme comment, Strowman called a Twitter user a “beautiful little pansy.”
“Man y’all soft af. Hope you find a safe space to cry about how damn good I am. Or maybe come to one of my meet and greets and if your (sic) a good little boy I’ll give you a hug to make you feel better,” Strowman wrote. “Hope your day gets better sunshine. Shine bright you beautiful little pansy.”
The term “pansy’ is recognized as an anti-LGBTQ term by major LGBTQ advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD. The latter organization maintains a relationship with WWE. According to WWE’s Community website, the company “has proudly supported GLAAD’s Concert for Love & Acceptance and Spirit Day campaign.”
Multiple people pointed out the homophobic nature of Strowman’s comment in replies to the tweet, but Strowman offered no response before deleting it Monday.
The former WWE Universal champion offered an apology to his fellow wrestlers hours later, while insisting his comments toward wrestling fans on social media were jokes.
“Take a joke [internet wrestling community],” he wrote.
The tweet made no mention of his use of a homophobic slur nor did he apologize for using it.
Outsports reached out to WWE and GLAAD for comment on Strowman’s statement, but has not received a response as of press time.