Considering WWE has fired people for a lot less, why did WWE choose to keep Lars Sullivan employed even though controversial comments existed?
WWE has a history of unfair treatment. One example is the way they've dealt with Lars Sullivan and his controversial comments online this past week. After making bigoted, racial, homophobic and insensitive remarks online a few years back, when the comments surfaced and smacked WWE and Sullivan in the face, all he got was a slap on the wrist, a $100k fine and an announcement he'd be undergoing sensitivity training.
Some fans are ok with the punishment. Interestingly, Titus O'Neil, the same person who was almost fired for touching Vince McMahon in a joking way on a live broadcast of Raw, is one of them. Ironically, news has come to light as to why WWE chose not to release Sullivan from his contract and it isn't because they think what he did was an unfireable offense.
Mike Johnson was asked on PW Insider why WWE didn’t fire the WWE's newest monster. The response was that the general thinking is that the company didn’t want him to go elsewhere.
He (@LarsSWWE )will in my opinion grow from this, Learn a lot about why his past behavior has been and will continue to be Offensive and Oppressive to certain demographics of People, And Ultimately prove A lot of Naysayers WRONG and Hopefully We all can Learn,Heal and Grow!! https://t.co/O9puNH3LHL— Titus O'Neil (@TitusONeilWWE) May 16, 2019
There is a sense floating around WWE right now that letting talent leave is a bad idea. After all, they could wind up in AEW or another promotion at a time WWE is feeling a pinch. The company has invested a lot into Sullivan and his unique stature and size could be attractive to another promotion.
Johnson said, "They didn’t want to fire Lars and hand him off to someone else in my estimation. So, they fined him."
What This Means
WWE is probably wrong here. Not firing someone because you're worried they'll go elsewhere is the wrong reason to keep someone if you believe what they did was wrong and a fireable offense under other circumstances. So too, they have to realize that other promotions might shy away from someone with such a checkered past.
Yes, O'Neil did stand up for Sullivan. And, this isn't really about believing he should be forgiven or not. The point here is that it sounds like WWE would have fired him if they weren't worried he'd pop up in AEW. Crazy, if true.