On November 30, Big Swole announced that she and AEW had mutually parted ways. Fightful later reported that Swole's deal had expired at the end of November and that AEW had not renewed her deal.
Following her departure, Swole said her "heart just stopped being in it," that "the structure is a little off and I like to have more structure," and "there is no representation, truly, and when there is, it does not come across in the black community as genuine." You can read her full comments by clicking here and listen to her comments by clicking here.
Tony Khan responded, commenting on AEW's diversity and giving his reason for allowing Swole's contract to expire by tweeting, "The top 2 @AEW execs are brown (me & Megha)!! Jade, Bowens, Caster, Dante, Nyla, Isiah & Marq Quen all won on tv this month. The TBS Title Tournament has been very diverse. I let Swole’s contract expire as I felt her wrestling wasn’t good enough." Many of the AEW roster responded in support of Khan and AEW's efforts on diversity, which Swole addressed.
On her latest Call In Show, Swole discussed Tony's tweet in response to her comments.
"When I read the TK tweet, it was, not necessarily sent to me, but I got a text message saying, 'Do not respond to him, it's not worth it.' At that time, I was already a little zooted because it was about to be New Year's. I looked at it and I was like, 'Wow, this is a lot.' It was a lot to process to read between the lines. Then I saw the complete uproar about it and my first instinct was....'ughh,' you know you turn your nose up at something? Ughh, what, why would you? You could have stopped right there and everything would have been Gucci. But to continue on? Dude. You still had enough character to promote the match? Dang. I couldn't believe it. It went from that to disappointed," she said.
Swole continued by saying, "Overall, I'm very disappointed. A person with that pedigree should know how to respond in a way that doesn't come off in the most negative way possible. What couth do you have? What grace? I'm a person. I'm a person that, in my exit interview, you praised me. You praised me for my leadership roles in the division and what I've done to help and how my matches were good and great and how 'hey, we would love to have you back.' A couple weeks or so later, to this. I was very disappointed. Embarrassed, even. Embarrassed for the people that are there. I really couldn't believe it. Did he even listen to the podcast? Obviously not because it went completely off the rails. You went completely to counting brown people. If was truly about counting brown people, I would be naming certain demographics. 'Oh, why isn't there more Indian people,' that type of thing. To answer everybody's question. No, there's been no apology. There's been no contact or anything and I don't think there will be. I feel like, maybe he feels he said nothing wrong. At all. Maybe he felt he had to send out the performative people with their tweets trying to negate my own experience with their own experience because that's exactly what it is because I'm sharing mine, then you come around to share yours in a way that you dig at me in the middle of it. How sincere is that? Would you have shared anything if I said nothing? Would you have spoken up about how wonderful it is in your spots? Diversity isn't spots, sweetheart. Okay? It's not. It's performative at this point."
Swole stated that she was simply sharing her personal experience and views when it came to her time in AEW and that "sharing your experience does not negate anybody else's experience. You have a right to share how you feel and what you've experienced and what you see. That has nothing to do with anyone else. It only has to do with yourself and how you feel."
During the podcast, Swole also elaborated on what she meant when she used the word "diversity."
"I know when those key words 'diversity' and 'representation' come out, things get a little shaky. People start to count the black people, the people of color. It's not about numbers. If you truly listened to the actual episode, to the podcast, you would know that, if I'm speaking on diversity, of course I see the people around me. I'm not blind. I'm not color blind. I know the people who work there. I worked there. You have to deduce when you're listening to someone. You have to know 'oh, of course she's not talking about numbers because she sees it. What is she talking about?' It's like there is no comprehension when people are listening. You're just hearing.
"I was taught that active listening requires hearing and comprehension. You have to read between the lines. It has to be something other than surface deep when you're invested in someone or when you're listening to someone. You can't just go off the rails and say, 'Oh, this is exactly what she is talking about. This blank piece of paper, nothing underneath because there is no layers to diversity. There is inclusion and equity. It's fine.' No, there are layers to this. In my episode, I was talking about everyone, not just black people. When I say 'my people,' I mean, 'my people.' People I relate to. You look at me and yes, I am a black woman and that's what I identify as because it's easy for everyone else to digest. I am Abantian woman and part Portuguese. There are things about people that you don't know so you automatically assume. You know what happens when you assume. Wanting more, truly wanting more, is not a crime. Everybody wants more. Wanting more diversity and representation, solid representation is not wrong and it does not negate anything that they are already doing. I'm pretty sure there are people in instances where you want more. Your job is great, you are being paid great, but you want more. Not to say that what's been happening isn't already fantastic, it's just that you are seeing what is needed and you are asking for it. It's not a crime to do so."
Big Swole last wrestled on the September 21 episode of AEW Dark, defeating Allie Katch.
In the past week, Lio Rush commented by saying that he spoke with Tony Khan and will work with him to make a positive change in AEW social equality. You can find Lio's statement by clicking here.
Will Hobbs also issued a statement on the diversity in AEW. You can read his statement by clicking here.
Captain Shawn Dean spoke of his personal experiences in AEW on this past week's Grapsody, which you can see at this link.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit the original source with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.