Gail Kim On Tessa Blanchard Situation: ‘I Hope People Can Move Forward’
(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)
Gail Kim is known for not pulling punches when it comes to topics in and out of the ring.
Josh Barnett of PWInsider spoke with the IMPACT Wrestling producer and prominent figure in women’s wrestling about several such topics, including her retirement, but she also took some time to address the situation and controversy surrounding IMPACT World Champion Tessa Blanchard, who found herself amid accusations of racism and bullying among her female colleagues.
Kim talks about her behind-the-scenes perspective of Hard To Kill with Tessa after the accusations began flying and before she won the World Title against Sami Callihan.
“I was traveling to Hard to Kill on Saturday night. I caught wind of it when I landed. It wasn’t even 24 hours when we got to the pay-per-view. Everyone saw it on social media and it blew up. It was pretty stressful in the sense I didn’t like the angst of all these women fighting, or I don’t know what the term is, but it weighed heavily on my heart in a way. Of course, women in general are catty by nature. We had that in our generation. I’m 42 years old, almost 43 and retired so I’m not in competition with anyone anymore and don’t really feel like. I think the women who have moved on and we’ve bonded and share that bond and we don’t remember all the cattiness if there was any.
“When that happened, we went to a pay-per-view and it wasn’t even 24 hours. I went to speak to Tessa. Those details are private between her and I and are no one’s business. I based my decision of support at the pay-per-view and showing that support based on her time in the company. In the three years that she started with Impact wrestling, I’ve never seen any signs of any of that, of the undertones of bullying or racism. That’s where I made my decision of what I did and what I showed. Fans were going crazy on social media saying that I was a hypocrite. The difference is I had a chance to talk to her one-on-one. The difference is, in the WWE, which is where people were coming at me from and suggesting a hypocritical nature, is that I did talk to them at the end of my tenure there. I basically was brushed off and never tried to understand why I felt that way and never tried to make it better. That’s why I blasted them on social media because I don’t like to see that.
“Any wrestler would tell you this, if someone was so crappy and such a terrible attitude and terrible person, do you think we would support that person? We would probably let that person bury themselves. She has the support of the locker room for a reason. Now, I wasn’t there at the incident. I don’t know who was there at the incident. I can’t make my decision based on hearsay. Yes, there were many women that came forward. … I had to believe and give a chance to the person who displayed the behavior that I saw working with her in that environment. For me, I felt like that should have been handled face to face. If people have problems with each other – that’s how we handled it and yes, social media wasn’t as prevalent. … we really did have meetings when we had problems with each other. In that regard, I wish people would be able to speak face to face and confront one another and talk it out. Unfortunately, that never happened. I know this whole situation has trickled into other people’s lives. I hope people can move forward and that the girls can all speak and resolve this issue at some point. I’m not them. I can’t make them do anything, can’t make them say anything.”
Kim also states that during her experience with Tessa, she never experience any attitude problems with the young star.
“I didn’t see any attitude problems, that’s the thing. I don’t know what that reasoning is. I’ve never even heard anybody say in the locker room in the last three years that she had an attitude problem. For me, that’s the reason that I came out of retirement, I was like, ‘Wow, that girls talented, I didn’t really have the retirement that I envisioned, let me come back and try to do it the right way and that I could close the door peacefully. I never had any issues. It was like working with anybody else who is professional and talented and well rounded. I never had any issues.”
In reference to she herself taking criticism because of her interaction with Tessa, Kim does take exception to people being so demanding of instantaneous answers from stars and the trend to jump so quick to negativity when matters begin to rise on social media. In addition, Kim states that she stays true to her morals and is adamant to keep private conversations just that.
“First off, it did bother me that people were demanding answers. If something happens in your life and you have barely 24 hours to digest it, are you going to go share it with strangers on social media and the details of what conversations you had. People don’t know what happened. People don’t know the conversations that occurred. I’m a nearly 43-year-old woman who talked to someone, made decisions based on that conversation and other conversations and based on the last three years working with someone in the company. That’s the part people don’t understand. They want to go to the negative space right away. There’s more to that and more to that happening and then a reaction. It takes conversations with many people sometimes. There’s many people involved and people don’t get that. It’s really none of their business because I’m so outspoken about racisim, I want everyone to know, I truly still have my same morals. I still have my same stance. Nothing has changed. Like I said, the conversation between her and I and others are private and that’s what I made my decisions on. For the past three years that I have seen, there have been no underlying notions of bullying or racism that I have noticed or seen or felt or heard at all.”
Much more from this interview, including Kim’s reaction to Awesome Kong in AEW and the developments in women’s divisions around the business. Check all of it out here.