#SpeakingOut trends as female wrestlers call out sexual predators, fans extend support to new #MeToo movement
Similar to the #MeToo movement, the latest trend on Twitter, #SpeakingOut has provided a platform for victims of sexual harassment to come forward and share their stories. The hashtag was started to extend support to female professional wrestlers who have had experiences of sexual harassment during their careers.
It all started when a 20-year-old wrestler, Gia Adams, from North East England, shared a series of screenshots of her conversation with her trainer, Jason Skinner. Adams stated that she was about 15 at the time and Skinner, 30, with a finance and a baby. In one of the messages, Skinner has called himself “pervy” for making a move at an underaged girl.
Adams has also mentioned, “I have spoken to Full Tilt Wrestling who (as far as I’m aware) are the only promotion who have been using him recently.” The pro wrestling quickly responded to Adams's tweet by sharing an apology statement.
Full Tilt Wrestling shared, "We at Full Tilt as a company do not condone this type of behavior and will not stand for sexism and sexual harassment within our club or the wrestling industry.”
Towards the end, the statement reads, “We 100% support Gia and apologize if at any point she felt uncomfortable at our events. FTW strives for inclusivity, diversity and acceptance for all in wrestling. We stand with those speaking out and commend their bravery.”
Adam’s post propelled the female wrestlers who have endured similar pain come forward to share their own stories, which was further supported by #SpeakingOut. Many female wrestlers took to Twitter to share horrific stories of sexual harassment. German wrestler Marie Kristin Gabert, who is known by her stage name, Alpha Female, was one of the known faces of the wrestling industry to speak up against sexual harassment through a tweet that read, "And people wonder why I left. 2019 took every bit of love that I had for wrestling away. It's not getting any better now reading the #SpeakingOut stories. Just sad!"
Adding to the previous posts, one Twitter user wrote, “For clarifications sake, @MrBrandonStroud stole nude photos off a female wrestler’s cell phone and still makes money off of pro wrestling, by writing for @UPROXX. He’s been forced out of TX wrestling but still manages to make $ off of wrestling articles. It’s a shame, really.”
“#SpeakingOut if a female wrestler is 17 and a 30+ year old man uses his position to goad you into a sexual relationship that 30+ year old is a pedophile and the 17 year old is a victim. Glad we could clear that up.” added another.
Meanwhile, the majority of them praised the female wrestlers for gathering the courage to bring attention to the prevailing issue.
One wrote, “Damn, the revelations about BritWres today have been absolutely heartbreaking. Heartbreaking, but necessary. I’m sort of numb right now tbh , but for everyone who’s #SpeakingOut please know I’m here for you all! In the end this is all for the better of the #WrestlingCommunity”
“I support every single individual who has been brave enough to #SpeakingOut and will no longer support those mentioned who purported these acts. We the wrestling fans stand behind these brave people,” added another.