WWE Issues Official Statement On ‘Kobe Bryant Rape Joke’
WWE issued an official statement Tuesday concerning a personality’s off-color remark during Monday’s Raw broadcast in which NBA player Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case was referenced.
As Titus O’Neil grappled with Kofi Kingston in a singles match, A.W., who was wearing a live mic, yelled from ringside, “Titus O’Neil is like Kobe Bryant at a hotel in Colorado hotel room. He’s unstoppable!!”
The remark was in reference to the basketball star being accused of sexual assault in summer 2003 after having sex with a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado. In September 2004, prosecutors dropped the case after his accuser refused to testify. A civil suit was later filed and settled out of court.
A WWE spokesman issued an statement to TMZ.com reading, “A.W. made an inappropriate comment and WWE immediately apologized. WWE has taken appropriate action in the matter.”
WWE sources tell TMZ that A.W. “felt horrible” after making the remark and claimed he simply “got caught up in the moment.” He also realizes the remark could be hurtful to rape victims and their families.
A.W. immediately apologized to company brass, including the McMahon family, as well as several wrestlers, and has also vowed to refrain from making similar remarks in the future.