Yesterday it was revealed that Smackdown’s Lars Sullivan had been fined $100,000 for the racist, homophobic and sexist comments he made on a bodybuilding forum back in 2013 that have resurfaced in the last week. It was also reported by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful that the former NXT star will also be undergoing sensitivity training at the request of WWE.
WWE has confirmed to Fightful that they've fined Lars Sullivan $100,000, and he'll be undergoing sensitivity training.
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) May 14, 2019
This was surprising as it was previously reported that WWE had “no issue” with Sullivan’s comments, and they had no intention of punishing him. However, it appears as if pressure from sponsors is the reason why the company decided to act.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer reported that some of WWE’s sponsors complained to the company, and as such forced Vince McMahon to reprimand Sullivan or risk losing money:
“Ultimately here’s the situation. There were sponsors that complained and WWE felt that it had to publicly take action and I think they had to take really really strong action to keep him because they didn’t want to fire him. So they had to do something that looked like, ‘we’re really sticking it to him” to keep him and they think a lot of his potential so they fined him $100,000… that’s a lot of money.”
Some people have speculated that the fine is not real, and has just been ‘confirmed’ by WWE so it seems as if they are punishing him and not condoning such behaviour. On that matter, Meltzer strongly claims that the fine is real, and Lars will be paying $100,000:
“I know some people thought that stuff was not real, the fine’s real.”
Meltzer also commented on the price of the fine, with saying that the $100,000 Lars is expected to pay will make it the second biggest fine in WWE history:
“I mean they publicly announced the number and they’ve never done that before. I mean there have been guys to get fined. Steve Austin got fined $250,000 if you remember for walking out and Dave Bautista got fined $100,000 for blading when he was told he wasn’t supposed to. Those are the two biggest fines I’ve ever heard. There might be others, but those are the two I’ve heard. So this would be tied for the second biggest fine in the historyof the company as far as I know.”
Thanks to NoDQ for the transcription.