Right-wing pundit Glenn Beck may have figuratively battled with the press before, but he might be about to literally step into the ring with the WWE, the flagship brand of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (NYSE:WWE).
Recently, the wresting organization introduced an overtly racist character, Zeb Colter, who acts as a manager of wrestler Jack Swagger. Colter, who is intentionally portrayed as a villain, has entered a number of rings and delivered lengthy rants against both foreigners and immigrants.
When Colter and Swagger deliver their incendiary speeches, they are typically seen in front of the “Don’t Tread on Me” flags that are popular with members of the Tea Party movement. Current host of "The Glenn Beck Program" on radio and a former personality on the Fox News Channel on television, Beck sees this as an attack on the conservative movement.
“I can take it from a lot of people,” Beck said on his radio show, “but I can’t take it from the stupid wrestling people.”
Beck continued, saying that, in his mind, most of the WWE's audience members should be aligning themselves with the Tea Party.
“I just don’t see a bunch of progressives going and buying their tickets to the WWE. Do you?” Beck said. “I mean, and maybe there are. I tend to notice that the progressives are not as popular in the South unless they’ve moved from the North. So I’m just trying to figure out exactly who they’re trying to appeal here, who they’re appealing to.”
In response to Beck’s criticism of its storyline, the WWE said: “WWE is in the entertainment business, creating characters and stories that revolve around our Superstars as well as culturally significant current events. Given ... Beck’s comments, WWE is formally extending an invitation to him to address our 14 million weekly viewers and global fan base -- as well as the live audience of the WWE Universe -- on WWE programming this Monday night. We look forward to ... Beck’s reply and the opportunity to have him on Raw.”
According to the wresting organization: “WWE’s invitation stems from Beck’s recent segment in which he discussed the ongoing rivalry between World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio [and] No. 1 contender Swagger and his self-styled mentor Colter. In the segment, Beck specifically directed his comments toward the character of Swagger, recently reinvented as a xenophobic 'Real American' who delivers anti-immigration 'State of the Union' addresses as the antagonist to the Mexican hero Del Rio.”
So far, Beck has not responded to either the WWE’s clarification of its character or its invitation to step into the ring Monday.
Watch a segment of Beck's show where he discusses the WWE below.
Watch one of Colter's rants against immigrants below.