In the wake of bully and racism allegations levied at Tessa Blanchard, many turned to Gail Kim for her comments. Kim, who works as a producer in IMPACT, had been very outspoken in calling out WWE for being racist and received backlash when she hugged Blanchard following Tessa's IMPACT World Title victory at IMPACT Hard To Kill.
"When that happened, we went to a pay-per-view and it wasn’t even 24 hours. I went to speak to Tessa. Those details are private between her and I and are no one’s business. I based my decision of support at the pay-per-view and showing that support based on her time in the company. In the three years that she started with Impact wrestling, I’ve never seen any signs of any of that, of the undertones of bullying or racism. That’s where I made my decision of what I did and what I showed. Fans were going crazy on social media saying that I was a hypocrite. The difference is I had a chance to talk to her one-on-one. The difference is, in the WWE, which is where people were coming at me from and suggesting a hypocritical nature, is that I did talk to them at the end of my tenure there. I basically was brushed off and never tried to understand why I felt that way and never tried to make it better. That’s why I blasted them on social media because I don’t like to see that."
She continued, "Any wrestler would tell you this, if someone was so crappy and such a terrible attitude and terrible person, do you think we would support that person? We would probably let that person bury themselves. She has the support of the locker room for a reason. Now, I wasn’t there at the incident. I don’t know who was there at the incident. I can’t make my decision based on hearsay. Yes, there were many women that came forward. … I had to believe and give a chance to the person who displayed the behavior that I saw working with her in that environment. For me, I felt like that should have been handled face to face. If people have problems with each other – that’s how we handled it and yes, social media wasn’t as prevalent. … we really did have meetings when we had problems with each other. In that regard, I wish people would be able to speak face to face and confront one another and talk it out. Unfortunately, that never happened. I know this whole situation has trickled into other people’s lives. I hope people can move forward and that the girls can all speak and resolve this issue at some point. I’m not them. I can’t make them do anything, can’t make them say anything."
Blanchard was accused of using racist language in a confrontation with La Rosa Negra in 2017 by Allysin Kay. Other wrestlers stepped forward and accused Tessa of bullying throughout her career. The accusations were made on Saturday, Jan. 11, one day before Tessa was set to headline IMPACT Hard To Kill in an IMPACT World Title bout.
Kim was called out on social media for hugging and seemingly supporting Blanchard following her victory, with some believing her to be a hypocrite given her past comments about WWE. On those calling her out, Kim said, "First off, it did bother me that people were demanding answers. If something happens in your life and you have barely 24 hours to digest it, are you going to go share it with strangers on social media and the details of what conversations you had. People don’t know what happened. People don’t know the conversations that occurred. I’m a nearly 43-year-old woman who talked to someone, made decisions based on that conversation and other conversations and based on the last three years working with someone in the company. That’s the part people don’t understand. They want to go to the negative space right away. There’s more to that and more to that happening and then a reaction. It takes conversations with many people sometimes. There’s many people involved and people don’t get that. It’s really none of their business. Because I’m so outspoken about racism, I want everyone to know, I truly still have my same morals. I still have my same stance. Nothing has changed. Like I said, the conversation between her and I and others are private and that’s what I made my decisions on. For the past three years that I have seen, there have been no underlying notions of bullying or racism that I have noticed or seen or felt or heard at all."
Kim famously worked a feud with Tessa in 2019, culminating at IMPACT Rebellion in what was Kim's retirement bout.
When asked about Tessa's attitude when the two worked together, Kim stated, "I didn’t see any attitude problems, that’s the thing. I don’t know what that reasoning is. I’ve never even heard anybody say in the locker room in the last three years that she had an attitude problem. For me, that’s the reason that I came out of retirement, I was like, ‘Wow, that girls talented, I didn’t really have the retirement that I envisioned, let me come back and try to do it the right way and that I could close the door peacefully. I never had any issues. It was like working with anybody else who is professional and talented and well rounded. I never had any issues."
Blanchard would eventually release a statement on the accusations, denying she used racist language in the confrontation. She did not address the accusations of bullying.
When asked how Tessa handled herself with the statement and at the subsequent IMPACT television tapings in Mexico a week after the accusations were made, Kim said, "I didn’t see her all of her responses. I did see her statement on social media. The statement that was coming from her and I can’t tell her what to say or what to think. She did deny it, like you said. Like I said, the last three years I’ve never seen any underlying racist language or behavior. It should be discussed between the people that it occurred with. In this day and age, I feel like people don’t want to confront each other. I’m very direct and I like it when people are direct with me. Not necessarily a confrontation of a fighting or aggressive nature, but I like when people will tell me directly what they think and we can work it out and resolve the issue. Someone else also said whether she did have that reputation three years ago and some people have said that, but there are a lot of people in wrestling who had bad reputations years ago and we’ve given them second chances. If they screw that up, that’s on them, but based on from the time she’s started in this company to now, I haven’t seen anything bad and that’s what I’ve based on my judgment now."
Tessa was pulled from Heavy Metal Wrestling on Jan. 24 following the accusations coming out and dropped out of BattleWorld'88 on Jan. 31. She has not given further public comment on the accusations.