WWE has many writers who try to ensure each and every storyline is on point, especially in the current political climate. With that said, a former WWE claims that he was punished for opposing racially insensitive storylines.

A former WWE writer claimed to have lost his job for challenging the company’s racially insensitive content. Michael Leonardi, in LinkedIn videos, revealed his departure in 2016 was influenced by his objections to WWE’s portrayal of the Muhammad Hassan character.

Leonardi pointed to a controversial segment in July 2005, during the buildup to a PPV match with the Undertaker, which garnered national attention for its perceived proximity to the ongoing “war on terror.” The subsequent London bus bombings intensified scrutiny and concern, particularly from UPN, ultimately contributing to Leonardi’s departure.

“Back then, there was a character by the name of Muhammad Hassan. In July of 2005, while in the build-up to a PPV match with the Undertaker, WWE aired a controversial segment that made national news as hitting a little too close to home with the ongoing “war on terror.

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“Shortly thereafter, the london bus bombings occurred which brought more attention to the angle and the concern amongst UPN.”

Leonardi, who was tasked with overseeing the Hassan vs. Undertaker match at that year’s Great American Bash, explicitly expressed his discomfort with the angle to WWE. He informed his boss that he felt it was ethically wrong to continue with the project. Leonardi requested to be assigned to another match, which he was granted, specifically the Eddie vs. Rey match.

“I told my boss that I had a problem being associated with the project (I felt strongly that it was just wrong of us to keep going with it) and asked if I could be assigned to one of the other matches (which I was) Eddie vs. Rey (with little dominik, which is crazy to see where he is now!)”

The former WWE writer further detailed how he believed the company punished him for opposing the controversial character.

“I was immediately relieved of all my responsibilities as an associate producer and relegated to grunt work. About a week later, due to pressure from UPN, the character was removed from WWE programming after the PPV and never appeared again. Subsequently, I regained my responsibilities. Despite my love for working there, I found the situation handled in an unfair manner, prompting me to submit my resignation shortly afterward.”

Leonardi joins a list of former WWE employees alleging repercussions for opposing racially insensitive content. In a similar vein, Britney Abrahams asserted last year that her dismissal from WWE followed her objections to shocking story ideas, including one involving Mansoor being linked to 9/11.

Abrahams claimed she was terminated for taking a WrestleMania chair home, despite other employees allegedly being permitted to do so. Although she filed a lawsuit, Abrahams voluntarily withdrew it in August of last year.

Are you shocked by this story shared by the former WWE writer? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Subhojeet Mukherjee

Subhojeet is a professional wrestling fan for over 22 years. He got captivated by the sport during the Monday Night Wars and has a passion for it ever since. He also enjoys TV shows, movies, anime, novels and music, which broadens his perspective and appreciation for wrestling. He is a knowledgeable and respected voice in the industry.

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