Austin Aries issued the following statement on social media today to deny claims that he sexually assaulted those coming forward with allegations against him.
I’ve been reading, listening and reflecting. Our world has changed a lot in my 40+ years on this planet and my 20 years in the world of pro wrestling. Frankly, I’m happy we are collectively addressing some of these long-standing, not-so-secret dirty secrets, and exposing a dark underbelly of not just pro-wrestling, but all of our society. It’s long overdue, I welcome it, and I want to help move these discussions forward about abuse of power and our relationships, roles and responsibilities to one another as men and women.
To be able to do that effectively and have any credibility, I have to be transparent and I have to be honest about my own successes and failures in this space. I certainly haven’t lived a flawless life. I haven’t always said the right thing or made the right choice, whether professionally or personally. But let me be clear: I know who I am and who I’m not. I am not a sexual predator, I’m not a user, I am not an abuser.
Contrary to what some believe, the Austin Aries character that I portray and the man that I am are not one and the same. Now, more than ever, making that distinction is important. Daniel Healy Solwold Jr., the man that I am, condemns abuse of all forms and is here to join others in speaking out. I have nothing to hide. I’m here to listen and I’m here to talk. I want that responsibility because ultimately that’s what will help me become a better person and help me leave this world, and the pro wrestling universe, a better place. I’ve seen and heard a lot in my two decades involved with pro wrestling that I’m not OK with. As products of our environment, it seems we have an opportunity to finally change that environment for the better. I’m all for it and I’m all in.
If I was ever part of the problem, please know the sincerest apology I can offer is to be part of the solution.
Love and Light,
Aries was accused of sexual assault by several women last week, including a story from pro wrestler Ariela Nyx. Another story from a Rhett Titus shoot interview also resurfaced online, with Titus revealing that Aries talked his then-girlfriend into kissing his testicle in the locker room at a Ring Of Honor event.
Since leaving IMPACT Wrestling after Bound For Glory 2018, he has worked a few international dates and signed with MLW last year. Aries spoke with Chris Van Vliet last year about the now-infamous moment on TNA Wrestling where he stuck his crotch in Christy Hemme’s face after she botched the names of the competitors in the match.
Aries backed her into a corner and demanded that she correctly announced his name before he then climbed to the second turnbuckle and stood with his crotch in Hemme’s face. Aries ended up being fined $5,000 by the company, but maintained that he didn’t sexually harass her and was just in character.
Every time I’ve met Austin Aries, he has made a comment about my boobs and hugged me too close and too long trying to feel. I’ve had multiple people message me about the awful things he has done. But he’s not a predator or anything of the sort… pic.twitter.com/YFjxiNDybO
— 🌺 Ariela Nyx 🌺 (@ArielaNyx) June 23, 2020
Austin Aries asking me to stand in front of him and ‘dance for him’ then asking me ‘move your shorts to the side so I can see’ then telling me if I don’t dance it means I have no rhythm and I’m bad in bed.. then continued to invite me to his room 3x which I ignored.
— Hannah (@xhp818) June 22, 2020