Lilian Garcia and The Miz, who have both felt the brunt of bullying, spoke out on the subject in an interview with Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald after appearing at a be a STAR anti-bullying rally at John F. Kennedy Middle School.
During his climb toward the top of WWE’s upper echelon, The Miz was dumped on by his peers in the locker room. Many of “the boys” did not want him in the company due to his notoriety as a reality television star and tried to bully him out of a job, as been told numerous times by the world champion grappler himself in media interviews.
“Nobody liked me, everyone wanted me fired and was trying to get me fired. I’m in the WWE, and everyone there and the WWE Universe hates me. It made me feel like I was walking on egg shells,” he recalled during an interview last year with Adelaide Now. “I got kicked out of the locker rooms, so I couldn’t find a place to change or shower. I remember one time going down the corridor to go to the (stadium’s public) bathroom and fans going `Oh my god, that’s The Miz’ – thanks, I’m going to the bathroom next to a kid that has my shirt on. It’s kind of belittling and humiliating. But it’s one of those things that made me stronger and made me realise I could take everything that anyone dishes.”
Though he portrays a villainous character on television, The Miz himself is not a bully in real life. He encourages children to rise above negativity: “There’s so much negativity in the world today. If you watch news, you see it on Twitter, you see it on Facebook. I try to challenge the kids to be more positive with their life. Complement one another, instead of doing all these negative posts on Facebook, or tweets, why not just make a positive realm about it? It makes you feel better as a person, it makes the other person feel better.”
The WWE Superstar continues, “So anytime we can do something in a neighborhood, any neighborhood, any city that we go to, we always try to hit high school, elementary school, middle school, any place we can get an audience of children because that’s where it starts. Why not nip it in the bud before it even starts?”
Many people find WWE’s anti-bullying initiative to be hypocritical considering that the sports entertainment organization was founded on settling arguments with physicality. The Miz stressed that the battles in the ring shouldn’t be taken at face value since WWE is an entertainment television program: “You watch WWE, watch it for the entertainment value; it’s a television show. But the issues children go through each and every day are real. They’re in the real world if you will. We try to basically say, “We’re a television show, it’s entertainment and when you go to school, literally, this is real life, this is how you deal with bullies and hopefully it works out well for everyone.”
Similarly to The Miz, Garcia has been subject to blustering ridicule in the WWE workplace. There have been numerous incidents during her time with the sports entertainment organization where she has been publicly derided. Mick Foley notably took offense online to WWE executive/wrestler Triple H humiliating Garcia with a crass internal joke aimed at her physical appearance during an April 2010 episode of Raw where she handled ring announcing duties on short notice.
“Why does someone like Triple H, one of the most talented, well paid guys in the business, do something so shallow and mean? Why would a multi-millionaire, with millions of fans around the world, feel the need (several times over the years) to say something that is only meant to hurt?” Foley wrote online after seeing Triple H insult Garcia. “I don’t get it. I don’t get why it’s done, I don’t get why it’s condoned, I don’t get what possible satisfaction anyone involved gets from demeaning someone like Lillian Garcia. I just don’t get it.”
The SmackDown ring announcer doesn’t believe in the theory that words never hurt. She also thinks that bullies are individuals with insecurities.
“I feel it’s so important to send a message and to tell people how their words are very, very powerful. That whole phrase of words will never hurt you, I don’t believe that. Because words are very, very powerful,” Garcia says.
She continues, “It’s important to send a message to them, to make them think twice and make them realize that it’s their own insecurities as to why they’re picking on somebody else.”