Wrestling fans are body-slamming WWE owner Vince McMahon as a “racist” after he suspended a black wrestler who playfully grabbed his arm during a TV segment.
WWE star Titus O’NeilPhoto: The Tampa Tribune via AP
Titus O’Neil, a 38-year-old Florida native known for his immense charity work and larger-than-life personality, has been sidelined for what’s being described as “unprofessional conduct,” according to WWE.
The company originally told The Post that he was expected to miss the biggest show of the year — Wrestlemania — after being suspended for 90 days following an incident on this week’s episode of “Monday Night Raw.” But they later confirmed that he will actually be suspended for 60 days, instead.
McMahon can be seen on video walking up the entrance ramp and through a crowd of wrestlers that were lined up on the side, applauding.
O’Neil reaches out and grabs McMahon’s arm, as he appears to go in for a hug.
But the move apparently didn’t sit too well with the chairman and O’Neil was slapped with the suspension and sent home from WWE’s “Smackdown” tapings in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, PWInsider.com reports.
As news of his punishment spread online, many wrestling fans took to Twitter to voice their outrage, saying it was overkill.
“Titus O’Neil is suspended for grabbing Vince McMahon’s arm. What the f***, Vince?! You f***ing piece of s*** racist scumbag!,” tweeted Joshua Cercado.
“Longtime racist and @realDonaldTrump bestie @VinceMcMahon suspends Titus O’Neil over playful arm grab. More amateur racial crap from @wwe,” wrote Greg Brailsford.
User @TheRealDymondz added, “sounds like Vince McMahon went full racist and suspended Titus O’Neil. This better be a work.”
WWE officials said O’Neil’s suspension was in no way scripted and he will be forced to watch from home for the next two months.
Both WWE and McMahon, himself, have been accused of racism before in the past — something that social media users were quick to point out on Wednesday.
“If Titus O’Neil was white I doubt Vince would’ve suspended him,” wrote Twitter user @EricTheFan316.
“Lol at @WWE apparently suspending Titus O’Neill for grabbing Vince’s arm,” added user @_Njay3. “If that was John Cena there would be no problem.”
But WWE later blasted the racism allegations, claiming O’Neil’s punishment had nothing to do with the color of his skin.
“The suspension of Titus O’Neil had nothing to do with race and everything to do with unprofessional conduct,” they said in a statement.
The company claimed O’Neil even “acknowledged the gravity of his mistake” in a text message.
“I feel like sh** now so if you have to let me go, I understand. Stupid mistake,” he wrote, according to WWE.
Along with John Cena, O’Neil is considered to be one WWE’s most dedicated charity workers.
In 2015, he was crowned “Celebrity Dad of the Year” by the MEGA Dad Awards. The 6’4″, 270 pound former Florida Gator has also been featured in WWE’s “Take Time to Be a Dad” public service announcements and their “Be a STAR” campaigns.
He most recently surprised a group of Tampa students in their class, rewarding them with free lunch and tickets to a local WWE event.
“If the titus o neal suspension is true vince is a moron. Anything to show off his arrogance ans authority,” tweeted Melvin Starr. “Guy does so much for the company.”
Twitter user @StraightEdge540 added, “I’d have to agree with everyone appalled by Titus O’Neal being suspended for 90 days. It’s ridiculous. #SaveTitus.”