The case involves John "Bradshaw" Layfield, who also was employed by CNBC as a contributor, which had picked him up last month after an earlier stint with Fox News:
- In an apparent attempt to draw a crowd response during his match against WWE champion Eddie Guerrero in Munich, eyewitness reports said Layfield goose-stepped around the ring and raised his arm numerous times in an Adolf Hitler salute. Such actions are illegal in Germany, although no criminal charges were brought against the 13-year wrestling veteran after the show.
In a statement, a CNBC spokesman said Layfield was fired because, "We find his behavior to be offensive, inappropriate and not befitting anyone associated with our network."
WWE also responded to the incident through a statement on its web site: "WWE and John Layfield deeply regret Mr. Layfield's actions in the ring at our event in Munich and apologize if it has offended or upset our fans. Mr. Layfield has been reprimanded for his actions."
The WWE apology deserves to be viewed with some skepticism, however. After all, Layfield's act has been going on for some time, and apparently with WWE approval:
- Layfield, 36, was recently elevated to a main-event position on the WWE's Smackdown roster after his character was changed to portray him as an anti-immigration zealot, with Mexicans usually the targets of his prejudice during weekly Thursday telecasts on UPN.
The people responsible for this behavior likely will claim that Layfield's character is only a fictitious creation, but the fact remains that lending this kind of hate-mongering any shred of legitimacy is extraordinarily irresponsible.