Dutch Mantell’s most recent WWE run as Zeb Colter from 2013-2015 saw him portray an anti-immigration character while managing Jack Swagger and later (Antonio) Cesaro.
Mantell recently spoke on SportsKeeda’s ‘Smack Talk’, where he recalled a promo he cut on the Prime Time Players that he was afraid would come off as racially insensitive.
“Zeb Colter was supposed to be the right-wing radical, but the way I was doing my interviews, it made sense, and a lot of people were agreeing with me. They wanted me to go out one time and I was talking to Titus and Darren Young. (WWE management) wanted me to say what I got against them is ‘affirmative action’ and I went ‘Guys, I don’t wanna say that.’”
Mantell explained that he was afraid that the line would come off as outright racist, but Triple H told him to leave the line in the promo to see how it went down with the live audience. He added:
“They said ‘Oh yeah, that’s what they want you to say.’ I asked ‘Why?’ I said ‘I guarantee you, when I go out there and I say that, now I’m racializing – I’m just making Zeb Colter a straight out racist.’ They said ‘Well, do this,’ and I then went to Triple H and said ‘Hey man, you’re gonna kill this character,’ and he did say this: ‘Okay, say it. If they don’t respond then take it out.’ I said ‘Get ready to take it out because they’re not gonna respond to this’. Nobody wants to hear it. I don’t care who you are. They don’t want to hear it. I went out there, and I said that; you could here not a pin drop. It got eerily quiet. I know what they’re saying, you could read their mind. They’re saying ‘Oh God don’t take it this way, Please don’t lean into it.’”
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