Butlin’s apologises for encouraging families to boo Muslim baddie wrestler

29th Apr 2016
Butlin’s apologises for encouraging families to boo Muslim baddie wrestler

Red Coats urged families at the Superslam Wrestling show to heckle bearded baddie ‘Hakim’ who entered the ring waving what was later revealed to be the flag of Saudi Arabia (Photo Creative Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Butlin’s were forced to apologise for an Islamophobic wrestling show at their Skegness camp on April 2. Butlin’s Staff (Red Coats) urged families at the Superslam Wrestling show to heckle bearded baddie ‘Hakim’ who entered the ring waving what was later revealed to be the flag of Saudi Arabia .He went in to fight against ‘good guy’ Tony Spitfire who sported Union Jack shorts and carried an England banner.

Red Coats also encouraged the audience to yell “En-ger-land” as the villain crept behind Tony Spitfire.
“Horrified” dad Christian Cerisola, 41, who was in the audience with his wife Frances, 39, and their daughters Amelia, 8, and Esme, 6, said: “I understand wrestling needs goodies and baddies but this was very awkward and embarrassing. Where was the moral compass in all this? My gut feeling was one of deep discomfort.

“My wife was shocked as well and we left before the next fight. I think it sends out the completely wrong message to families and children who were watching that we were encouraged to boo the guy who is not English. It was excruciatingly uncomfortable.”

Cerisola took to Twitter to described how one section of the show as “a horrific race hate-filled ten minutes of everything wrong on racial stereotypes”.

He added, “So we brought the kids to @Butlins this w/e. Rough round the edges, but loads for them to do. It was all going well. They asked to watch the wrestling last night. Harmless bit of fun, we thought. But no. I felt I was dropped into the middle of a Britain First rally.

“Out came ‘Hakim’. The Islamic flag waving baddie. “BOOOOO”, we were told. Then came Union flag trunk wearing Tony Spitfire. Yes Tony Spitfire, ladies and gents. “En-Ger-land” he thumped over and over. A horrific race hate-filled ten minutes of everything wrong on racial stereotypes. How did this get past the sense checkers?”

In response to Ceriso’s tweets, Butlin’s said, “Yesterday’s wrestling was a deviation from the agreed content and we’re conducting a full review with our supplier as to why. We’d like to assure you and all guests this was a totally unacceptable one-off which is contrary to Butlin’s values. It won’t happen again.”

But on April 4 Ceriso added: “One thing that disappointed me was the Butlin’s told me I was the only one who complained.” Cerisola said one of the managers called him after he started tweeting and told him they were as “horrified” as he was.

A description of the Superslam Wrestling show on the Butlin’s website states: “Get ready to boo the bad guys and cheer your favourites as the atmosphere is always electric and guaranteed to have everyone on their feet enjoying themselves.”

Skegness Butlin’s resort Director, Chris Baron, said the section in the show was “not agreed content.” He said; “We had a wrestling company in on Saturday who did a show we are not happy about. That part of the show was not agreed. It was not funny or acceptable. It is a company we have used for years and years.

“For some reason they tweaked that part of the show which we did not know about. Our entertainment manager picked it up straight away.”

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