For the second time since AEW head Tony Khan's controversial tweet in response to criticism from former roster member Big Swole on diversity issues, current roster member Powerhouse Hobbs released a statement in support of both Khan, chief legal council Megha Parekh, and the company.
Hobbs wrote the following Monday night:
There is so much that goes into AEW that those online don’t see.
It often flies under the radar that Tony and Megha are people of color and having them in charge of AEW represents progress for pro wrestling. I see firsthand how hard they’re working to make wrestling more diverse.
I want you all to know that I consider Tony and Megha family, and I’m disappointed to see their efforts dismissed. People have no idea the time and effort it takes to put shows on and to make AEW an open environment where people like me are seen and heard.
Tony works hand in hand with people of color on the roster all the time about their story ideas, input, matches, etc. Not every idea will work, but every idea is listened to and valued. My personal voice has been heard and I’ve had input for many of my opportunities. As a Black male, I plan on using my voice to do what I can to make sure that this company is diverse. I’m also very aware that diversity comes in many forms – Women, Black, Latinx, East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, LGBTQ+ and more. The more diversity, equity and inclusion we can build in wrestling, the more fans we can engage with, and the more fun we can all have together.
AEW is a young company led by people of color heading in the right direction. I’m proud to be a part of that momentum, and I know my colleagues stand beside me when I say that.
That followed a brief statement Hobbs made on New Year's Day expressing support for the company.
Last week, Swole said on her podcast that she felt AEW needed more structure internally and that women, in particular, shouldn't have had to go through so much to get TV time. She also said there was no diverse representation at the influencer level and that when AEW tried to be representative publicly, "it does not come across in the black community as genuine at all."
Khan then replied to a news story tweet about the podcast that both the top two executives at AEW were brown before listing off several African-American stars that "all won on tv this month." He then said he let Swole's contract expire as "her wrestling wasn't good enough" before plugging Friday's street fight between two female teams.
The tweet drew ire from fans and wrestlers alike including from roster member Lio Rush who tweeted that Khan should apologize. He later tweeted his own statement of support and that he hopes to be a driver of change in the company this year.
Khan has yet to address the tweet and subsequent blowback publicly.