At the most recent live AEW event, The Acclaimed took place in a match on AEW Dynamite. The show was taking place at the UBS Arena. During the match, a member from the audience yelled a homophobic slur in the direction of Bowens. The comment could be heard during the live television broadcast.
The Acclaimed member spoke to TMZ Sports about the situation and explained that it can sometimes come with being a LGBTQ+ athlete. Bowens added by mentioning that he has thick skin, but some comments hurt more than others.
Bowens said, “Unfortunately, that kind of stuff comes with the territory, being out, an LGBTQ athlete. This is actually the first time I’ve audibly heard something 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 the company has all been positive so that’s the first time that’s actually happened in that sense. 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 ‘em. 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.”(h/t to POST Wrestling for the transcription)
Bowens was also asked if there is anything he would like to say to the individual, if he knew who it was. He responded by saying he would use the opportunity to turn it into a teachable moment.
Bowens continued, “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 hope he would listen to me and hope that we can find some common ground or at least educate him to why that was wrong to do and I hope the person grows. I think 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.”
The Acclaimed has been a staple of the AEW tag team division. The team currently has a 2021 record of 21-5. The team also sits at number three in this weeks’ tag team division rankings.