WWE Used An Image From Auschwitz And Fans Are Horrified

WWE Used An Image From Auschwitz And Fans Are Horrified

The WWE used stock footage of Auschwitz in a recent promotional video.

By Jessica Scott
| Updated

WWE’s WrestleMania is one of the biggest events in sports entertainment every year, and this year’s event was even bigger than usual. The only problem with having so many WWE fans tuning in, though, is that that means there are more chances for someone to notice a big mistake, like the use of an image of the Auschwitz concentration camp in a promotional video. According to NPR, the image was part of a five-minute video hyping up a match between Rey Mysterio and his son, Dominik. 

WWE fans, as one would expect, were horrified by the inclusion of a shot of Auschwitz, a concentration camp where more than a million people were killed. The Auschwitz Memorial called out the WWE on Twitter, saying: “The fact that Auschwitz image was used to promote a WWE match is hard to call ‘an editing mistake.’ Exploiting the site that became a symbol of enormous human tragedy is shameless and insults the memory of all victims of Auschwitz.”

The worst part is, the WWE was not even using the Auschwitz image to make a statement about the horrors of the Holocaust or World War II. It was, instead, a part of a B-roll video telling the fictitious story of Dominik, the wrestler who turned against his father, Rey Mysterio, after being convinced to do so by the WWE’s notorious group of villains, Judgement Day. He then became a “hardened criminal.” 

The storyline continues with Dominik ending up in jail after trying and failing to get his father to fight him. This helped to build up the “tough-guy persona” that Dominik is known for, which is really just a cover for his true identity as a spoiled rich kid (according to the show).

wwe auschwitz

The WWE apparently used stock footage of Auschwitz to show the kind of rough, tough places and prisons he came out of, but since WWE did not respond to NPR’s requests for a statement, it is unclear whether they knew this image was actually from Auschwitz or not. It is possible that they were just looking for stock footage of prisons and that one came up, but it is still inexcusable that no one checked the source of the photo (or the caption, or anything) before it went on the air.

During the airing of the first night of WWE’s WrestleMania, fans rushed to social media to ask if they had really just seen Auschwitz during a live broadcast of a wrestling show. Their suspicions were confirmed, but WWE did not respond directly as of the time of this writing. They did, however, remove that image from the replays that followed, replacing it with a generic jail cell and barbed wire.

So, while WrestleMania may have been a success, the WWE is in for a PR fight as it struggles to repair its reputation after using an image of Auschwitz that should never have been used for that purpose.

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