Booker T on Jay Lethal: “He’s no Uncle Tom”
WWE Hall of Famer Booker T has weighed in on the evolving situation where Jordan Myles took his employer, WWE, to task. Myles felt disrespected by WWE after an initial t-shirt release for him, which Myles claimed was racially disrespectful. This led to Myles publicly taking down the company on Twitter and even calling former ROH World champion Jay Lethal an “Uncle Tom.” Booker T addressed the topic on this week’s Hall of Fame podcast. Below are some highlights and a clip of the show.
Booker T still works with WWE as a broadcaster and also cohosts WWE Backstage. His 2003 angle with Triple for the World Heavyweight Championship received some controversy at the time for Triple H using racist rhetoric and language during the feud. And ultimately, Booker T never got a singles win over Triple H.
Booker T on Jordan Myles: “I must say this before we go any further. I’ve been in WWE — a part of the company — since 2002 — No, 2001. Officially I got kicked off in 2002. And I’ve had several t-shirts, and every time I’ve had a t-shirt up until the Hall of Fame, which was the last one they made, I think they came to me and gave me several different designs as far as how do I like this one? How do I like this one? How do I like this one? Even going back to WCW, every time I’ve had a t-shirt, I was part of the process. Every time I knew exactly what it was going to look like. So therefore, I don’t know how this t-shirt got out without him actually knowing about it, first and foremost. That being said, my name is being thrown out there as far as where’s Booker T? And even Mark Henry, people have been saying, where’s Mark Henry? First and foremost, it’s not our job to step up and defend Jordan Myles over his t-shirt. OK?”
Booker T on the shirt issue: “One thing I can say about t-shirts, is it’s not a good looking t-shirt, alright? It’s an ugly shirt, alright. I can say that. The t-shirt has a black background to it. Now, 90 percent of the t-shirts that are made got a black background to it. Did it look like blackface? Maybe some people on social media said that. There’s a lot of negative people on social media that’s looking for anything that they can possibly find to make racial, first and foremost. It happens all the time. Therefore, is it a racially driven concept of a t-shirt? Me personally, in 2019, I cannot think that the guys actually went into it thinking ‘let’s make a racial shirt about Jordan Myles.’ Me personally — a lot of people may think that, but I just don’t think the firestorm is worth going through this. It’s just not.”
“So therefore, is it something that should’ve been discussed? Is it something that should’ve been talked about? Yes. But this going to social media crap is the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life. You can be working at Jack in the Box and if something happens, you want to go to social media and talk about it. Your business and your job is your business with that company. It’s not for the world to come in. I don’t know when is the last time somebody on social media signed my check.”
Booker T on why he doesn’t complain on social media and Myles calling Lethal an “Uncle Tom”: “I’ve had many a racial issues that I have dealt with in this business, and not one of them have ever been on social media. I never complained to social media about any racial situation that I’ve been in, and I’ll tell you right now, if anybody knows me, anybody in this wrestling knows Booker T, they know exactly what I’ve gone through and how I’ve handled every situation. There’s never been a racial issue that has gone over my head or that I’ve swept under the rug. Every single time someone has said anything racial around me, I’ve handled it. And to hear this Uncle Tom crap, you know, I heard Jay Lethal’s name. I know Jay Lethal. Jay Lethal’s put in almost 20 years in this business. He’s no Uncle Tom. I’ve heard people call me an Uncle Tom, and if they do it, I wish they would do it to my face. Don’t do it behind those characters! Don’t do it behind social media! Don’t do it behind a cloak of anonymity. Do it in my face because I will show you what an Uncle Tom really looks like if you do it out in public.”
Booker T on how social media and personal business don’t go together: “My thing is this, and I’m going to leave it at that. Social media and your business, they don’t go together. OK? That’s just my opinion on that, and leave my name out of this crap. Stand with you, stand behind you, I’m standing way back on this one because I tell you, this could have been handled a whole lot different than it’s being handled. This is not a Colin Kaepernick moment, OK? Let’s just get that straight, first and foremost. If anybody got something to say, I’m a very easy man to find. I’m at the Intercontinental Hotel in Los Angeles, California kicking back and relaxing.”