WWE's Lana Sparks Outcry With Malaysia Airlines Comments (Video)
The female character, who portrays an anti-American Russian, asked the audience during Sunday's match, "Do you blame Russia for current events?" But a rep for the WWE tells THR that her speech was not referring to the tragedy that killed 298 people.
WWE wrestlers' outrageous comments are usually considered tongue-in-cheek, but a speech made by female star Lana hit home Sunday.
Playing the role of an anti-American Russian with her sidekick Alexander Rusev, Lana amped up the audience by asking, "Do you blame Russia for current events?" The aggressive statement has been taken by many as a reference to last week's Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash, which killed 298 passengers and crew, and sparked outcry from fans and critics.
"In fact, you Americans should be scolded for your warmongering in Afghanistan and Iraq. You Americans should be insulted and afraid," she screamed into the microphone to the booing crowd.
"Tonight we dedicate this match to the most powerful man in the world. Tonight we dedicate this match to the man that makes fools out of all of you Americans," Lana — whose real name is C.J. Perry, an actress from Gainesville, Fla. — went on to say in an over-the-top Russian accent.
"He is my role model. He is my idol, the president of Russia," she vowed, pledging her support for president Vladimir Putin.
However, a spokesperson for the WWE claims that the comments were not directed at the tragedy that happened in Ukraine when the plane was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, but are part of Lana's regular act.
"Last night’s segment during WWE’s Battleground event was in no way referring to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. The storyline with characters Rusev and Lana has been a part of WWE programming for more than three months," the rep said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
"WWE apologizes to anyone who misunderstood last night’s segment and was offended."
Some sports commentators still assumed Lana's comments were about the doomed flight, with British journalist Simon Clark tweeting his disgust.
Can't believe WWE used Flight MH17 - 'current events' - as cheap heat in the Rusev v Swagger match. That's not cool. #WWEBattleground— Simon Clark (@SimonClark8) July 21, 2014
Watch Lana's passionate speech with Rusev, played by bodybuilder Miroslav Barnyashev, below.