A British indie wrestling star has been lambasted for posting an insensitive tweet regarding sexual harassment in the industry.
Even wrestling isn’t safe from the Weinstein effect, it seems, as wrestling circles are having a long overdue conversation about sexual harassment. However, Will Ospreay—a British indie wrestler and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion—is finding himself on the wrong side of the argument.
Early Friday morning, Ospreay tweeted that he finds it “disgusting” when social media is used as a tool “to accuse people of sexual assault.”
After posting the tweet, Ospreay was assailed by hundreds of angry Twitter fans accusing the wrestler of trying to silence victims of sexual assault. His tweet has since been deleted.
Ospreay’s tweet seems to be in response to another British indie wrestler, Pollyanna, who recently came forward on Twitter to confront harassment in the wrestling industry. She has tweeted a series of cryptic messages that seem to accuse another wrestler of sexual assault.
Only a handful of people know the details, but they have no issue sharing a locker room with someone who would do that. There is little to no moral standing in this business, not when it comes to the cash in your pocket.— Pollyanna (@GothicLolly) November 13, 2017
No I’m not ok. I’m far from it. I’m angry at myself and I’m angry at him being back. I’m angry at the people sharing the locker room with him. And I’m angry at the promotion when I made it clear I would never work where he was when I last spoke to them.— Pollyanna (@GothicLolly) November 13, 2017
Can’t again mention names to some of the people who have been helping me the past few days as I know he would message them to call me a liar. But thank you, the words of advice and just saying you believe me, that helps me more than you could ever know.— Pollyanna (@GothicLolly) November 16, 2017
I thought honestly I had not told anyone at the time it happened, but one of my friends just told me that I had told her around the time it happened. I’m so happy, I did tell someone. I did.— Pollyanna (@GothicLolly) November 16, 2017
I should have said something so much earlier, I know, but I didn’t. But when I saw he was back, I don’t know what it triggered in me but I was in tears calling my parents and friends in a state and I couldn’t stop myself tweeting. I was a mess and I could not accept it. I refuse.— Pollyanna (@GothicLolly) November 17, 2017
“They have no issue sharing a locker room with someone who would do that,” the tweet storm begins, which seems to be referring to a past crime. Pollyanna only recently returned to wrestling after quitting in 2016. Before her retirement, she wrestled in Impact Pro Wrestling: UK, Pro Wrestling Eve, and Progress Wrestling. She was also the inaugural Plex Wrestling Women's Champion, a title she held for 480 days.
It’s clear from her tweets that Pollyanna is referring to another male wrestler who has also returned after retirement, but she stops short of naming names. “I’m angry at myself and I’m angry at him being back. I’m angry at the people sharing the locker room with him. And I’m angry at the promotion when I made it clear I would never work where he was when I last spoke to them.”
Reddit and Twitter have both speculated on who she could be referring. One name, Ryan Smiles, keeps coming up in responses on social media, but there seem to be equal numbers for and against him being the culprit.
Besides being completely heartless, Ospreay may have also deleted the tweet as Pollyanna actually did not use social media to accuse anyone directly. Afterward, Ospreay replaced his tweet with an apology and an olive branch, recounting a time in his childhood when he too fell victim to sexual assault as a 14-year-old.
Once again I can only apologise for those I did offend. You’re not alone I went through the same. Worst thing is I get told all the time keep my mouth shut on here so now I will 100% make it up to you. pic.twitter.com/D93Yxupfeu— ウィル・オスプレイ (@WillOspreay) November 17, 2017
Will this be the first female wrestler to come forward with their experiences behind the scenes?