Out professional wrestler Anthony Bowens recently made headlines when and his boyfriend, YouTube star Michael Pavano, ran into a bunch of homophobic protestors and decided to publicly kiss away their hate.
But the homophobia hit closer to the All Elite Wrestling star's work recently when someone yelled “f*ck*ng f*gg*t” to him so loudly during a December 8 broadcast of AEW Dynamite that it was heard by viewers at home.
“Not phased,” Bowens quote-tweeted a Twitter post that contained video and audio of the hateful incident.
Earlier this week, Bowens sat down for a quick interview with TMZ Sports and revealed he’s a much better man than the person who yelled the anti-gay slur.
“Unfortunately that kind of stuff comes with the territory, being an out LGBTQ+ athlete,” Bowens said, noting this was the first time he’s “audibly heard something like that during a performance or during television.”
He was also quick to point out that the incident was “not indicative of the AEW fans at all,” adding his interactions since signing with AEW “have all been positive.”
Instead, Bowens believes this was the case of one bad apple failing to spoil the event for everyone else.
“There’s always kind of one person who oversteps the line, and this time it was picked up on camera,” he told TMZ Sports. “And I’m kind of glad it was because it just amplifies the message that we still have work to do but it also shows that there’s so much positivity out there, like you said, from the response. That was awesome to see.”
Bowens publicly came out as bisexual in 2017, but now identifies as gay. Earlier this month, he and boyfriend Pavano made headlines when they publicly kissed in response to hate.
“Stand up against hate,” Bowens wrote to Instagram, tagging both his boyfriend Pavano in the post.
When asked how he would respond to the recent foul-mouthed hater in the stands, Bowens didn’t suggest a kiss or washing out the man’s mouth with soap and water, but instead provided us all with a quick course in basic humanity.
“Honestly, if I did meet him I’d sit him down and listen to him,” Bowens explained. “And I’d hope he’d listen to me and hope that we could find some find some, you know, common ground, or at least educate him on why that was wrong to do and help the person grow. I think instead of just kind of beating down other people and throw back the negativity they’re giving to you, it’s an opportunity to educate and help the person become a better human being.”
Judging from the above video, the loudmouth hater is lucky Bowens didn’t decide to kick some sense into him instead.