Sullivan made most of the bigoted comments between 2007-2013, long before he inked a deal with WWE. The comments came to light this past November and fellow Superstar Big E‘s public reaction on Twitter has caused sponsors to force WWE’s hand.
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer discussed the matter in detail and revealed the reason behind WWE fining Sullivan 100 grand. It is to be noted that Lars is the very guy who has been penciled to be the next big heel in the company.
“Ultimately here’s the situation. There were sponsors that complained and WWE felt that it had to publicly take action and I think they had to take really really strong action to keep him because they didn’t want to fire him. So they had to do something that looked like, ‘we’re really sticking it to him” to keep him and they think a lot of his potential so they fined him $100,000… that’s a lot of money.”
Besides a whopping $100,000 fine, Sullivan will also be required to undergo sensitivity training as WWE needs to ensure that the 30-year-old Superstar knows how to use his mouth in public situations going forward.
Meltzer further noted that it wouldn’t surprise him if $100,000 is what Sullivan makes or earned last year in WWE. The company had to make a statement which explains why they chose such a big figure. It’s speculated that Sullivan will probably be paying the fine in installments.
Fans are currently divided on the nature of punishment – while some think that WWE has overacted under the pressure of sponsors thereby taking away Sullivan’s freedom of speech, others are of the opinion that the fine isn’t enough and the figure should’ve been more than $100,000.
With AEW posing as an imminent threat 24/7, WWE needs to keep sponsors happy and do what’s “best for business.”