British wrestlers enact positive change in industry with new non-profit
Those involved are using this non-profit to incite positive change and progress across the industry. The organization includes a broad combination of wrestling talent including production, charities, parliamentary representatives, media and fans.
Over the past few years, various allegations regarding sexual misconduct in the wrestling industry have been bought to light. The number of allegations eventually led to the #SpeakingOut Movement. Since then, various individuals brought into question have since been removed from their positions of power.
Now, British wrestling is taking the movement one step further with the non-profit Trust. The organization plans to become fully operational in August and has released a pre-launch statement regarding its plans. Ultimately, Trust will provide support to those in need including the industry's female and LGBTQIA+ communities.
At the helm is veteran ring-announcer Kimberlei Brown. She began her work on Trust just days after the #SpeakingOut Movement started.
“When I first started, I was aiming for full regulation of the industry," she says. "But as the team has grown and we liaised with various groups it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t realistic at this point, and felt that concentrating on the protection of those at risk was the way to progress."
Through Trust, those involved are creating a platform where more voices in the British wrestling community can be heard. The non-profit also offers various resources for athletes and other industry personnel.
“We have established focus groups to represent the community," she continues. "Including the LGBTQIA*+ community, female wrestling talent and wrestling media with groups for outside influence, fans, the BAME community, male wrestling talent, production, training schools and promotions all in the works. It is imperative that people across the industry have their voices heard. With experiences and opinions considered as we continue.”
The group is liaising with the new Wrestling APPG co-chaired by Labour MP Alex Davis-Jones and Conservative MP Mark Fletcher. As well, Trust is being advised by Domestic Violence Assist, Social Work England, Equity and others to establish their policies.
So far, the launch of Trust has been met with both positive and negative support. Despite this, Brown says they are going to continue their work to make British wrestling a safer and more inclusive industry for everyone.
“The support we have received from both inside and outside the business is overwhelming and humbling," she says. "Equally, there has been some criticism from a minority but this has been crucial to ensure that we are establishing the most diverse and efficient platform. Progress is often met with resistance, change can be intimidating. That is why it is imperative for everyone to work alongside each other, rather than against. At this point, we decided that it was important be transparent about who we are, what we are working on."
In the statement, Brown also addresses the industry's past and how Trust isn't trying to cover anything up. The group recognizes the importance of owning up to mistakes. With the community's help, Trust hopes to help restore and rebuild British wrestling.
“There are still so many wonderful people in wrestling," she says. "And they need support too so many people have been deceived, manipulated and lied to and in a lot of cases, been deemed ‘guilty by association’ and that includes some of our team members. It is important to highlight that none of us are claiming to be perfect, we are simply trying to create positive change with the tools and assets available to us. We only hope that the entire industry can work towards a brighter future for British wrestling, together.”here
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