What started as a movement to expose abuse of women wrestlers and fans in the UK indie scene has gone viral, and the #SpeakingOut hashtag has helped exposed a seedy history in the underbelly of the pro wrestling industry in North America and Europe (so far). With over 100 names exposed, from signed talents to indie wrestlers to promoters, trainers, and more, it has rattled the wrestling world to the core. Amidst allegations of various forms of sexual misconduct, PROGRESS Wrestling made a huge announcement in regards to their talents that have been accused and issued the following statement:
The last couple of days feel like a watershed moment for the British wrestling scene.
Stories being bravely told, about abuse that has been suffered within the wrestling business, are heartbreaking and eye-opening.
We stand with you, and we hear you. Please keep speaking out.
We have spent today consulting with trusted colleagues within the wrestling business about how we can improve our work environment and make it safer for all involved – talent, crew and fans. These have been incredibly positive discussions and we are excited to get to work making them reality.
It will take time, but as a wrestling community we can clean this scene up and make it better, and safer.
From a personal perspective –
Whether victim, friend, casual acquaintance or colleague – no-one should feel guilty for not seeing the signs of abuse. The nature of the abuser is that they are adept at hiding in plain sight.
As a company we have consistently removed obscene and abusive fans, with the aid of our production crew. We have a ‘banned’ list which gets circulated to all the venues in which we work, so that even if someone on that ‘banned’ list gets a ticket indirectly, security won’t let them in at the door.
We’ve been in business for 8 years now. As is to be expected over the course of that time, there have been incidents between fans, and very occasionally between wrestlers and fans. Where possible, action has been taken. Where appropriate and where a criminal offence may have been committed, we have advised people to take the matter to the police. These approaches will be reviewed and extended with additional support pathways
PROGRESS doesn’t have anyone under contract. Everyone who works for the company is freelance; what this means in practice is that when they’re on the clock for us, we are ultimately responsible for what they do; once they’ve left the building, they’re an adult and responsible for their own behaviour.
Thank you for reading. As of this month we are taking steps to diversify our core team, and wider circle of those with whom we consult, and we will learn from this watershed moment.
The company was quick to amend the statement, adding a second release that included the following information on particular talents named.
David Starr – will no longer be working for PROGRESS
Marc ‘Paz’ Parry – will no longer be working for PROGRESS
Travis Banks – will be suspended indefinitely
Jordan Devlin – will be suspended indefinitely // the tag titles have been vacated
Scotty Davis – will be suspended indefinitely // the tag titles have been vacated
We take these allegations extremely seriously. Those under suspension will have their situation reviewed periodically between now, and events starting again.
We continue to monitor and listen to the Speaking Out movement so that we can take appropriate action where necessary.
UK wrestling personalities like Leanne-Marie has been working alongside recently retired UK indie star Sierra Loxton in helping to give voice and amplify abuse victims in the industry. Be warned that some of the stories are graphic in nature.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.