SmackDown! portrays terrorism after London bombings

By Lila Holland

Jul 13, 2005

The UPN network is coming under fire after airing an episode of WWE SmackDown! that depicted what was apparently a terrorist-themed wrestling battle. The sketch aired last Thursday, July 7--the same day as the tragic and fatal attacks on London's public transportation system.

The SmackDown! episode in question featured an Arab-American wrestler named Daivari being vanquished by a character known as The Undertaker. After the fight, another Arab wrestler knelt in simulated prayer while five masked men emerged to choke The Undertaker into unconsciousness. The five then fell to their knees as Hassan hoisted The Undertaker's head into a position similar to that of a beheading victim. Daivari's unconscious body was carried out over the heads of the masked group, calling to mind a funeral for a suicide bomber.

The sketch was completely edited out of the U.K. edition of SmackDown!, and disclaimers alerted US viewers to the possible offensive content.

When questioned about the nature of the terrorist sketch, executive producer Kevin Dunn asserted that "we try and be sensitive with everything we portray, but there's got to be protagonists and antagonists on our TV shows. We just happen to reflect the politics of the world sometimes--especially with these Arab-American characters."

Dunn encouraged viewers to remember that the WWE is "firmly in the entertainment business" and that the content of SmackDown! should not be taken seriously.

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  • extreme_baby Feb 08, 2008

    true he should not have been taken off the show but he was not one of my favorite wrestlers anyway the undertaker is one of my favorites and to be honest i would have liked the undertaker to get up and kick his a** but that is just me and it is a SHOW not real so in someways he should not have been taken off the show.

  • tv4ever Apr 11, 2006

    People were warned anyway and this should'nt be taken too seriously. It wasn't as if Daivari was bombing the Undertaker. It was only a scripted episode about an Arab who has some business with the Undertaker that isn't real. Gosh there are better things to write about like how Osama Bin Laden sucks and how George W. Bush caused the war in Iraq and how John Kerry should have been President or something like that.

  • Faye-Faye_basic Aug 07, 2005

    http://www.davidbailey.net/peopleforhassan/speak_out.php

    Sign the petition to bring Hassan and Daivari back to the WWE. Let's do some "complaining" of our own.

  • Slizerpro Jul 29, 2005

    At the very least, Hassan should not have been taken off TV! How was it his fault? If anyone took offence at this, surely it's the writer's fault? Also it's so ignorant that just because Hassan is an ARAB-American, he is labled a terrorist! When did he do ANYTHING to label him a terrorist? He beat up 'taker, well it's not like we havn't seen that before! The fact is, the guys in ski masks wernt all Arabs anyway! So any artical saying "Arabs in Ski-masks" is totally wrong! I am more appauled by the media and UPN's reaction to this than WWE (Which is VERY unusual)

  • lilbabygurl13 Jul 24, 2005

    First things first, it called World Wrestling ENTERTAINMENT for a reason. And thats cause thats what it is... ENTERTAINMENT! Its scripted. I dont think anyone is stupid enough to take the content of wrestling shows seriously. If they did, they must b on crack or sumthin. But seriously, its ridiculous the kind of attention this is getting Smackdown aint even live, its taped. It jus happens that they aired it on the same day as the attack. Its a coincidence. Nuthin more than that. So it shouldnt b taken seriously. Jeez! Its scripted! Its not like they killed the Undertaker for real.