Gail Kim is known for not pulling punches when it comes to topics in and out of the ring.
Josh Barnett of PWInsider spoke with the IMPACT Wrestling producer about several topics, including the controversy surrounding IMPACT World Champion Tessa Blanchard, who found herself amid accusations of racism and bullying among her female colleagues.
Kim talked about her behind-the-scenes perspective of Hard To Kill with Tessa after the accusations began flying and before she won the World Title against Sami Callihan. Kim says she had a private conversation with Tessa and while that will stay between them, she hasn’t seen Tessa behaving like she was accused of since she started in IMPACT Wrestling. Kim noted that she also hasn’t heard anyone complain about Tessa’s attitude in the three years she’s been with the company and Tessa’s talent is one of the reasons Gail had her official retirement match with her.
Kim also addressed fans calling her a hypocrite over her lack of comments on social media about Tessa, despite being open about criticism over WWE. Kim originally said she needed time to process the situation and couldn’t properly express her feelings on social media, and now tells Barnett that she did try and speak out towards the end of her WWE tenure.
“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.
“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.”
In reference to she herself taking criticism because of her interaction with Tessa, Kim does take exception to people being so demanding of instantaneous answers from stars and the trend to jump so quick to negativity when matters begin to arise on social media. In addition, Kim states that she stays true to her morals and is adamant to keep private conversations just that.
“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 racisim, 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.”
Much more from this interview, including Kim’s reaction to Awesome Kong in AEW and the developments in women’s divisions around the business. Check all of it out here.