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AEW's Anthony Bowens responds to homophobic slur yelled by fan

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Image: AEW

In an interview with TMZ Sports, AEW's Anthony Bowens responded to having a homophobic slur yelled at him by a person in attendance at last week's Dynamite.

The slur was yelled by a member of the crowd as The Acclaimed (Bowens & Max Caster) & 2point0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) were facing Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) & The Varsity Blonds (Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison) in an eight-man tag match at last Wednesday's show at the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York.

Bowens told TMZ Sports that it was the first time he's audibly heard something like that yelled at him during a performance or during television. Bowens said his other interactions with AEW fans have always been positive, but he's kind of glad that the slur was picked up on camera so that it can amplify the message that we still have work to do. Bowens said it can also show the positive message of the support he's received since the incident.

"Unfortunately that kind of stuff comes with the territory, being an out LGBTQ athlete. This is actually the first time that I’ve audibly heard something like that during a performance or during television. It’s not indicative of the AEW fans at all, because any interactions that I’ve had with them since starting with the company has all been positive, so that’s the first time that’s actually happened in that sense," Bowens said.

"I have really thick skin -- I’m kind of used to it from, like my boyfriend Michael and I, we have our YouTube channel 'Michael & Anthony.' And when we first started that, woof, the comments were brutal. I can’t even repeat them. So we’re kind of just used to that, but there’s always kind of one person that kind of just oversteps the line. And this time it was picked up on camera -- and I’m kind of glad it was because it just amplifies the message that we still have work to do, but it also shows that there’s so much positivity out there, like you said from the response, so that was really awesome to see."

TMZ Sports asked Bowens what he would say to the person who yelled the slur at him.

"I’m not kind of the reactive type. I’m the type of person that likes to have a conversation. And honestly, if I did meet him, I’d sit him down and listen to him and I'd hope he'd listen to me and hope that we can find some common ground or at least educate him to why that was wrong to do," Bowens said. "And I hope the person grows. I think instead of just kind of beating down other people and throwing back the negativity that they’re giving to you, it’s an opportunity to educate and help the person become a better human being."

Bowens came out as bisexual in 2017 and now identifies as gay. He debuted for AEW in 2020 and formed his tag team with Caster.