Mike Quackenbush released the following video to address the allegations made against him in the #SpeakingOut movement, and how he decided to shutdown the Chikara promotion due to those allegations, which has run since 2002. Quackenbush speaks about the gaslighting, injuries, the use of homophobic slurs, and urges those in the community to continue to call out those in the community.
I would like to address recent allegations which have surfaced in the last three days about myself and people under my supervision. These are very serious allegations. And I want to be clear. This is entirely separate from the fictional world of pro wrestling storylines, characters, etc.. I want to take the time to go over all the points raised, and even though much of this will be difficult to hear. It is important that you know everything. So stay with me until the end, please. I want to start by offering an apology to anybody who read these allegations and felt embarrassment or disappointment as a result. I am sorry for that,” Quackenbush began. “I’m going to begin with the longest of these allegations, which comprises seven messages across two tweets offered anonymously by a student enrolled at my wrestling school between 2016 and 2019 when we were situated in Philadelphia holding a lease on Wingates Street. Because this accuser came forward anonymously, I will maintain their privacy if they choose to identify themselves, that is their decision to make [and] not mine. I wish to start with the most distressing of the points raised in this allegation. Her allegations take the form of a narrative, and in her story, she alleges that a separate trainee went to one of my coach’s private residences, became blackout drunk, and is concerned that she was assaulted until a few days ago. I had never heard this allegation and given I could not know what took place inside one of my coach’s private residences, I want to give the benefit of the doubt to the accuser, and I believe this allegation the way it is described. I denounce this behavior and upon learning of this just a few days ago, I investigated and a member of my staff was able to contact someone close to the situation. I am relieved that the coach cited in this allegation was removed several months ago. Regardless, safeguards must be put in place to ensure something of this nature never happens again. This anonymous accuser further alleges that during a road trip, a male performer exposed his genitals to her in a hotel room. And though I have no firsthand knowledge of this event, that trip was organized under my purview. Therefore, I accept full responsibility for this and I must be the one to offer an apology. I am sorry that this occurred. After the fact, a coach alerted me of unprofessional behavior while on the road and acting on that report, disciplinary measures were taken, but this level of detail was unknown to me until I read the allegation.
This accuser also details an in-ring injury which took place in August of 2017, resulting in a serious leg and ankle injury. They claimed that after the fact, jokes were made. Calling this ‘accident on purpose.’ I did not hear anyone make jokes about this and I remember the event vividly because I was in the ring for it and also present at the hospital after the fact. However, because I cannot be everywhere and hear everything, it is possible someone did make that joke. So I believe the accuser and I accept responsibility for that and I am sorry if anyone tried to make light of that situation. It is inappropriate, but I deny the assertion that a trainee of ours would be deliberately injured. That is entirely against my ethos as a person, as a performer, as a trainer, and even those things aside, just as a business person who must ensure the safety of his paying clients.
Lastly, from this particular allegation, the accuser claims to have been manipulated or gaslit through the process of passing an evaluation, then later being asked to take the evaluation once again and failing the evaluation. The accuser is not alone in the process of being re-evaluated and having regressed in the period of time between evaluations. In this case, the accuser did regress and upon re-evaluation, lacked sufficient upper body strength to control another person’s body to the mat with safety. I deny this as any wrongdoing. I do not believe the circumstance of being re-evaluated rises to satisfy the definition of manipulation or gaslighting of any sort. Furthermore, to compare these experiences to the conduct and behavior of Jeffrey Epstein is an assertion I entirely reject and deny this former trainee of mine is neither the first nor the last who had a frustrating experience mastering the craft. However, upon reporting to me that she would not be continuing training in our parting dialogue in 2019, she stated, ‘I don’t have the money and I never really had enough time. It was such an amazing experience. Thanks for everything.
Moving on, another anonymous accuser alleges that I was protecting someone from another relationship and later chose to brag about sexual conquests. I deny this allegation. To be clear to all, I do not discuss my sex life publicly. Period. I am fastidiously private on this topic and I wholeheartedly deny this allegation. A further allegation asserts that I was involved in a relationship with a trainee implying that that relationship was anything other than professional. And I want to be crystal clear on this point and exactly two points in my life. I have been involved in a personal relationship with an active CHIKARA performer. Both were consenting adults and both are free to disclose whatever they choose to about that. But their privacy is not mine to revoke. To be clear, though, I have never been involved in that type of relationship with a trainee.
There is an anonymous accuser alleging that someone booked by me used an inappropriate term to refer to a member of the CHIKARA family with autism and it is entirely clear to me who this is in reference to because a beloved figure in our history, Steve Weiner, is very open about discussing his autism. Steve was a regular with us in 2010 and 2011, even though I did not witness this remark. I believe this allegation. And I firstly and most prominently when you apologize to my friend Stephen. Stephen, I am sorry. You deserve better. This should not have been said. There are several people in my life, including my friend Stephen, who have autism, and I have had to learn how hurtful the ‘R-word’ is to them. Simply put, if this was said by someone at one of my shows or at my school, then I accept full responsibility. Once again, Stephen, I am sorry. And anyone else impacted by that. I am sorry.
We do need to talk about one more thing from when we were in Huntington Valley in 2011 and 2012, when someone alleges that the same anonymous accuser alleges that I use homophobic language, racist or misogynist language during practice. This part I must own,” he admitted. “I am certain that I made homophobic remarks during this time period. Although I do not recall making other types of inappropriate or offensive remarks during that period of time, I must be open to the fact that since I don’t recall those things, I should own them. I accept responsibility. I am responsible for those things and I believe the allegations as they are reported, because I know I said ignorant things in my past and I have to own that. So to the people that are disappointed by that or who I’ve hurt or I’ve offended or want you to know that I am sorry and I will never forget the exit interview I had with this trainee when they parted ways with me training at my school, and they told me how hurtful it was to them to hear that word said aloud. That made me realize how hurtful it was and how badly we needed to change the culture around our training. Maybe it sounds weird to say, but I am thankful for the lesson that you taught me that day and I’m sorry.
I have read and reread all of these, including all of your comments, especially from those of you who have lacked the full context for understanding. I want you to know if I have failed you, if I’ve hurt you, if I’ve offended you, I’m sorry. And to those of you I’ve disappointed, I’m sorry to you, too. You’re owed that apology. But please take this away, please. I’m urging you to remember this. We have to continue to listen with compassion and with empathy to the people who are speaking out and we’ve got to engage in real serious self-reflection. Look at the things that we’ve all said and done, and then we’ve got to change to be better.
If you’re hearing that from me and you’re wondering why, ‘Mike, how can you realistically say that given what you’ve gone through the last 72 hours,’ and what we all need to understand is this the people who are hurting the most right now, they are the ones who must be heard the most, because if they are never heard, they are never going to start healing and we all have a role to play.
Check out his full statement below. (H/T and transcribed by Fightful)