Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Thursday, April 06, 2006

television

-- television -- chris kanyon coming out

Yes, another wrestlling entry, and a day (or week) late and a dollar short besides. Per normal procedure, no comments allowed.

As a sort of preface, the beginnings of this story were floating around about the time the WWE started floating its bisexual wrestler story (wonder whatever happened with that). I declined to comment at the time because, unlike the WWE story, it was unclear what was happening.

Professional Wrestling Gay? Nooooooo! (queerty.com)
Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In what may just be the weirdest press release of the year, professional wrestler Chris Kanyon comes out as gay. But is he gay or just his wrestling persona? You decide (because he’s kind of a shitty writer and we don’t understand what the hell he’s talking about).

...But ultimately, and probably more sooner than later, I will tell the truth about the sexuality of me, Chris Klucsarits, the man behind the Kanyon character. I am hoping to do so within the next month, but again, I can’t make any promises, and I am determined now to just go with the flow, like a twig in the current of a mighty river. See what life brings me and enjoy the ride.

So, what is it? Is he gay or just playing gay? He claims to be the first openly gay athlete of the five major sports, but, since we’re constitutionally opposed to giving a crap about professional wrestling, we guess we’ll just have to wait a month to find out what his real sexuality is...

Given the deliberate confusion produced, there didn't seem to be any point in paying attention until this settled out one way or the other.

And so it has.


Kanyon says he is gay in real life, explains his timing, discusses his plans
PWTorch.com
March 7, 2006

The following statement was sent to PWTorch.com by Chris "Kanyon" Klucsarits...

Chris Klucsarits, the person who has portrayed the Wrestling character of Chris "Kanyon" since 1992 has come out of the closet.

I revealed myself to be legitimately openly gay this past Sunday in Orlando Florida at the Universal City Walk Hard Rock Live venue, at a national Pay Per View taping after a match with former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, DDP, Diamond Dallas Page, which I believe will air nationally on PPV in April.

Once the date is known for sure, I will post it. WCW was an AOL Time Warner/Ted Turner owned wrestling group named World Championship Wrestling, which aired on TBS and TNT and was ultimately bought by the WWE's Vince McMahon in 2001.

The match went very well, and, the announcement was handled with a tremendous amount of class and respect by both DDP and by the fans in attendance. It was a very emotional night for me, and I am glad I was given the opportunity to do this and I definitely have no regrets at all about anything I have done or said in the past month concerning this topic.

The main reason for the month long ambiguity between the sexuality of the character, Kanyon, and the sexuality of me, Chris Klucsarits, the person portraying the character is as follows: I initially made the announcement of Kanyon, the character, being gay to get the buzz started and to try and get some anticipation built up.

I was hoping to sign with Vince McMahon's WWE or Spike TV/ Jeff Jarrett/Panda energy's NWA TNA wrestling group before making the official announcement that I, Chris Klucsarits, the person playing the wrestling character Kanyon, was gay, so that I could possibly get more attention/publicity for the company I was working for, and on the flip-side, that the announcement itself would get more publicity/attention by doing it thru one of the 2 promotions. And, if I did not get signed to a contract by the 3-5-06 PPV taping, than it was always my plan, from the beginning, to make the announcement at that taping....

[...] So, 3-5-06 came, I had no contract with the WWE or TNA, so I decided to officially make the announcement that I, Chris Klucsarits, the person who has been playing the wrestling character of Chris "Kanyon" since 1992, was in fact a legitimate homosexual. In doing so, to make things finally less confusing, the entire sexual history, sexuality and sexual preference as well as the wrestling career and wrestling history of Chris Kanyon and that of Chris Klucsarits are now identical, they are the same. From this point on, anytime I refer to myself here I will be referring to both Chris Kanyon and Chris Klucsarits, unless I otherwise note it....


Gay in the Ring
By Ross Forman
Special to Outsports.com
March 31, 2006

Chris Klucsarits is the real name of Chris Kanyon, a pro wrestler who’s shined under the national spotlight since 1995. Kanyon has worked for the three major domestic federations: now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW), World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Total Nonstop Action (TNA)....

[...] Klucsarits wrestled worldwide for WCW until its final days in March 2001. In May 2001, he joined the WWE, where he worked until February 2004. He wrestled for Total Nonstop Action (TNA) in late-2005.

So why now? Why come out now?

“The time just seemed right,” he said. “I’ve come to terms with it and want to help others.

“People cannot say I’m just doing to make a name for myself; I’ve already made a name for myself. I’ve already accomplished almost every one of my goals in wrestling. I wanted to hold championship belts in the major federations, and I have. I wanted to wrestle at Madison Square Garden (in New York City), the mecca of the sports world, and I have. The only professional goals I have not obtained yet are: be the World Heavyweight Champion and wrestle at or headline a WrestleMania.

“Coming out isn’t about me. This is, hopefully, about helping others, especially kids, who are struggling with their sexuality. I want to be a role-model to them, someone they can look up to.” [...] Since coming out, Klucsarits said it’s been “no big deal” among the wrestlers he’s long been friends with. He has not had any negative responses from other wrestlers, “at least not to my face,” he said.

Klucsarits said since coming out he’s “a million percent happier,” and is appreciative for all of the overwhelmingly supportive fans who he’s spoken with and others who have e-mailed him. “I want to help people who are struggling with their sexuality, especially kids. I want to be a role-model,” he said. “I hope someday being gay is thought of in the same sense as being left-handed … no big deal.”

It will be interesting to see if he can achive those other goals. From what little I've heard, the WWE business side isn't necessarily particularly gay-friendly, and he would have to get back into the first rank of wrestlers with their help and cooperation. Unfortunately, in terms of the public face of wrestling, there's the WWE, and there's everyone else. That said, per his piece for pwtorch.com, that he was gay doesn't necessarily seem to have been an issue for the WWE; it was more a matter of timing.

At the moment, Kanyon/Klucsarits seems to be having difficulties with the TNA, not because he's gay -- he says they've been very supportive on that front, although NBC Universal and SpikeTV seem to be very twitchy on the whole thing -- but because he's publicly disclosed aspects of what seems to be a minor contract dispute, as posted at his www.myspace.com/chriskanyon weblog.

There's also a rather interesting dispute taking place in the Outsports.com forum thread dedicated to discussing the article, which has spread out into other aspects of wrestling and the storylines related to that. The viewpoint of someone inside wrestling, even a gay man, of some of these things seems to be very different from that of people outside wrestling. And, honestly, I understand how you could interpret things the way he does; it's perfectly reasonable. It's kind of interesting to watch the debate; he never seems to get all that exercised over the things people say to or about him, or about wrestling. He just patiently (and sometimes at great length) answers their objections.

I hope he can get the contract he wants/needs. As noted, I don't watch wrestling all that often, but it would be kind of nice to just know that he's around and able to make a living doing what he clearly loves and wants to do, and gets to more or less be himself while he's doing it.

Posted by iain at 02:18 PM in category television