NBC Is Scrubbing Racist Scenes From WWE Matches on Peacock

Peacock has exclusive streaming rights to WWE Network content thanks to a multi-year agreement

WWE CEO Vince McMahon in a suit with a purple shirt and striped tie
Vince McMahon attends a WWE press conference.
Michael N. Todaro/Getty

Racist scenes from WWE, like Roddy Piper donning blackface for a 1990 match against Black wrestler Bad News Brown and chief executive Vince McMahon repeatedly using a racial slur in a prepared skit in 2005, have been removed from NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock.

In ’05, a WWE spokesperson defended McMahon’s use of the slur to TMZ, calling it “an outlandish and satirical skit involving fictional characters, similar to that of many scripted television shows and movies.”

NBCUniversal’s streaming service acquired exclusive streaming rights to WWE Network content in January thanks to a multi-year agreement and has been reviewing the material “to ensure it aligns with Peacock’s standards and practices,” according to The New York Times.

That means going through more than 17,000 hours of WWE content, according to The New York Post.

Racist and sexist tropes have been a longstanding part of professional wrestling, but they are not the reason that most fans watch, Christopher Jeter, who writes about WWE for Daily DDT, told the Times.

“It became such a part of watching the product that it became expected,” he said. “But it’s not why I watch wrestling. I’m sure there are fans who are saying, ‘Why are you censoring?’ But it really isn’t a big deal that they’re getting rid of these stories and segments that haven’t really aged well, and weren’t really good at the time.”

WWE is being made aware of any edits or removals that NBC makes and seems to be on board with the changes. “Peacock and WWE are reviewing all past content to ensure it fits our 2021 standards,” WWE said.

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