Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Smackdown Head Writer Michael Hayes suspended for using racial slur

Smackdown head writer Michael "P.S." Hayes, the former Fabulous Freebird, later known as Dok Hendrix ('memba him?), was suspended shortly after Wrestlemania for using a derogatory racial slur towards Mark Henry on Wrestlemania weekend. In a party environment, Hayes and MVP had been playfully bantering about who the bigger N----- was, and Hayes attempted to continue said joke with Henry, who then complained to Stephanie McMahon-Levesque and other execs, resulting in Hayes' suspension. According to Jason Powell's, this was not a first-time occurrence and while the general consensus is that Hayes means no harm buy it, nor has he used his position as head writer to bury any minority wrestlers, it has still bothered many of 'the guys' who will laugh publicly with him, given Hayes' position, and then gripe privately.

All I can say is, good for Mark Henry. Don't get me wrong - as a performer and especially as a writer, I have huge respect for Michael Hayes; he is a great creative force and Smackdown under his guidance is one of the most entertaining shows on TV. But he is still a high-ranking executive in a publicly traded corporate environment; many companies have zero-tolerance policies in place for this kind of B.S. and in that sense, talented or no, he is lucky to still have a job - especially if this is not a first-offense deal, and he has been warned by Ms. McMahon-Levesque in the past.

I can only hope Hayes takes this as a wakeup call, as "Dog the Bounty Hunter" did, realize that kind of language, if acceptable at all, should at least be reserved to select audiences outside of a multicultural work environment, joking or no, and return to doing what he does best - writing excellent television - while having learned his lesson. My only concern is Hayes' known penchant for holding a grudge, which I have heard tales of, and which was also commented on by Jason Powell. While on a personal level I would love nothing better, professionally speaking I do hope this does not lead to a depush or burial of Mark Henry - while there are many others, this would not be a good reason and would open the company up, I would imagine, to plenty of potential legal ramifications. Let's hope professional and cooler heads win out on all sides - that Henry can forgive a (probably drunken) slip of the tongue in a casual party situation, and that Hayes can forgive Henry for rightly being offended by said slip, and we can all move on with hating Henry's onscreen performance, while loving Hayes' writing, and all being right with the world. :D


blog analyzer
HammerMill Copy Paper