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KELLER'S TAKE
KELLER BLOG: Austin Aries should be reprimanded for sexual harassment of Christy Hemme (or just being a d---)

May 13, 2013 - 3:52:26 PM
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At last Thursday's TNA Impact Wrestling taping, Austin Aries got upset with Christy Hemme for messing up his ring introduction. To apparently show her up, presumably with the defense being his heel character is a chauvinist or a male pig, he stood on the turnbuckles in the corner and shoved his crotch near her face. She turned away with what has been described as an uncomfortable laugh. She later, on Twitter, called it "Unacceptable."

Austin followed up with some double-entendre puns: "Pretty nuts, some of the junk people get the balls to say over the net, knowing they couldn't to your face...Eh, anyway, time to sack out."

For the record, Christy Hemme screwed up the ring introductions. This was not pre-planned. And the spot where Aries shoved his crotch near her face was not part of the show planned ahead of time. She did not okay it, according to sources in TNA at the show. Hemme doesn't have a great rep among wrestlers for doing her job well. That doesn't excuse what Aries did.

No woman at her workplace should consider it "part of her job" to have someone theoretically higher than her on the food chain of pay and prominence shove their genitals in her face as punishment. The fact that Aries is a heel character doesn't matter. The fact that Hemme messed up doesn't matter. What Aries did was uninvited thuggish and piggish conduct that, at the very least says a lot about him, and at worst says a lot about the culture among male wrestlers in TNA when it comes to female employees, regardless of whatever tone Dixie Carter has tried to set.

TNA needs to set an example with this that it's not tolerated. I don't have specific suggestions. That's ultimately up to Dixie Carter. When Bully Ray got out of hand in dressing down a fan and using the anti-gay "f-word" several times, Bully apologized publicly and Dixie said it was not acceptable behavior. I haven't seen TNA respond to this yet, and because it happened to an employee and not a fan, it could be conceivably kept in-house. But something should be done. No woman in TNA should feel they might be next.

Those who say "aw, it's pro wrestling, he's being a heel, she should get over it," switch workplaces and imagine your little sister or mother or niece dealing with that from a muscular male worker in a higher position at the workplace? Pick the workplace. It doesn't matter. It wasn't part of the script, it's not something commonly dealt with by women in pro wrestling, and there's no reason Christy should have expected it would be part of her job nor should any woman be left thinking Dixie Carter, Bruce Prichard, Hulk Hogan, and the rest of management think it's okay.


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