Killian McMurphy was a recent guest on Total Engagement with Matt Koon, and the two discussed Jim Cornette’s recent remarks about Sonny Kiss’ appearance and mannerisms. McMurphy is not only a young up-and-coming wrestler, but Sonny Kiss’s fiancé as well. McMurphy and Koon discuss LGBTQ perception, sensitivity, and what he and many others determined to be homophobic statements about Kiss and much more. Highlights from the interview, as well as the full show, are below:
Was your homosexuality an issue in the locker room?
“Wrestling and starting to find out who I was through performing really gave me the confidence to come to terms with my sexuality. I was 23 when that happened. I think you really have to know who you are to be a good wrestler and a good performer. That’s a thing that takes time and you really have to find yourself. I don’t think I could be in the closet and exude the type of charisma you need as a performer if there was always that little bit left out.”
Initial reaction to what Jim Cornette said:
“I listen to Cornette’s podcast every week. Up until those words, I was a massive fan. You can feel that in the tweet I wrote, I think I said ‘shit’ twice. I never curse online, I never even try to complain. Between owning every piece of merch that Jim Cornette has put out and Sonny being the best thing that’s ever happened to me, that shit sucks.
I wouldn’t say that Jim Cornette was or is homophobic. I feel like that’s a strong claim. I know how he feels politically, and I can’t say he’s homophobic. What he said was homophobic, and you don’t have to be a shitty person to say shitty things.”
Sonny’s reaction to the comments:
“I’ll say this right now, I don’t think this affected Sonny one way or the other. Sonny has been hearing this stuff his whole life, he came out SUPER early. He’s a very strong feminine man, it just bounces off of him. For my part, I don’t think Jim Cornette has ever been to a drag show if that’s what he thinks a drag queen looks like. As far as that and the transvestite line, they come from a place of ignorance. I don’t think it comes from a place of bigotry. I don’t think that Jim has seen someone like Sonny Kiss before. He has no idea what to call him, so he’s using these antiquated terms that may have been fine back in the day. I’m not trying to justify his behavior, what he said was homophobic, but that’s all he knows to say. He’s ignorant.
The line that really got me was him saying that Sonny as a feminine man had to justify his presence. His homophobia came from the fact that he was looking for justification as to why Sonny portrayed himself as he did. But that’s Sonny. That’s the person, Sonny the performer isn’t a thing that exists. And I’m sure Jim doesn’t realize this. He’s attacking the character of Sonny Kiss, but I’m sure he doesn’t realize that he’s attacking Sonny Kiss’ character.”
What would you say to Jim?
“I would reach out with ‘I get it, I understand, but it’s antiquated terminology.’ A homophobic slur? I don’t even know if it’s that. I would explain to him that a person acting feminine doesn’t need to be justified. I wish there was a more profound way to say that, but there isn’t. Somebody doesn’t need to justify their sexuality to you.”
Did Jim just have an ax to grind with AEW?
“Yes, I definitely think he had to get that soundbite out there. He also said a bunch of positive stuff about AEW later in the episode apparently. I didn’t tolerate it enough to listen to it.”
“Jim’s not a homophobe, but what he said was homophobic and not OK.”
Cornette had originally made the following remarks on his podcast when critiquing the Casino Battle Royal at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event, referring to him as a transvestite or‘exotico’:
“Then here comes Sonny Kiss, who apparently got off his day job at the drag show at the f–king Tropicana.”
Cornette’s comments immediately came under scrutiny, with some fans and wrestlers condemning him for using a homphobic slur. Kiss had posted the following on Twitter in response:
Sometimes, you have to let people’s words and actions speak for themselves. Good & bad.
With that being said, I want to thank everyone for their support. 💕As a person who’s been publicly open about their sexuality since childhood, his “attack” was a complete fail. I’m good.
— Sonny Kiss ♥ (@SonnyKissXO) May 31, 2019
Cornette’s latest show featured an apology of sorts, where he said he was sorry he hurt Kiss’ feelings, but went on to reason that people will say much worse in the wrestling business, saying things need to be presented in context.
“If I’ve hurt Sonny’s feelings by using the term transvestite—which I thought since it’s in the dictionary—or insinuating that he might have worked at the drag show then I do feel bad about that. But here’s also the thing—if I do go to the drag show and in the chorus line, out comes a guy dressed like a wrestler—am I not allowed an explanation there too? It’s all context. If you’re going to have a flamboyant gimmick, whether its based on your real life or not, you’re going to have to expect people to comment on it.”
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