Ex-pro wrestler, now school official, accused of transphobia

A Georgia school board member, who is also a retired professional wrestler, is accused of verbally harassing a transgender woman in the industry at a Los Angeles fan event.

Robert Rechsteiner, known as Rick Steiner, was banned Saturday from WrestleCon — a three-day event — after allegedly making transphobic comments to trans wrestler Gisele Shaw, news outlets reported.

Shaw claims Steiner called her a “piece of trash and filth” as she was preparing to sign autographs for fans.

“I was shocked and could not believe that this was even happening,” Shaw said in a Twitter post. “To have someone saying those comments who a lot of people look up to and consider their hero was quite shocking and disheartening.”

Steiner, 62, is best known for his tenure with World Championship Wrestling, where he was a seven- time World Tag Team Champion and two-time winner of the Tag Team Championship under World Wrestling Entertainment.

Since 2006, Steiner has served on the Cherokee County Board of Education in Georgia. He won a fifth term in 2022 and currently serves as vice chairman. He could not be immediately reached Tuesday for comment. Efforts to reach other officials with the district were also unsuccessful as the district is on spring break.

WrestleCon apologized for Shaw’s alleged treatment in a tweet but didn’t specify what happened or whether Steiner was involved.

“WrestleCon regrets the events that took place at yesterday’s convention and apologizes to Gisele Shaw … We aim to promote a safe and inclusive environment for all LGBTQAI+ members of the wrestling community. The issue has been addressed and we hope the remainder of the convention can be a positive experience for all.”

Impact Wrestling, for whom Shaw was representing, said in a statement that it was “saddened by the incident” and hoped “everyone can learn and be better from it.”

Shaw said on Twitter that she had been bullied all her life, but that she was not going to be frightened into hiding anymore.

“The bullies in my life have always silenced me, but that ends today,” she wrote.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

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