Peacock Purges Racist WWE Segments From Streaming Archive

Todd Spangler
·2-min read

As WWE Network is set to move exclusively to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service next month, the media company is removing objectionable material from the wrestling franchise’s archives.

WWE is shutting down WWE Network as a standalone service in the U.S. as of April 4, when customers will need to have a Peacock subscription to access the content. Ahead of the cutover, Peacock has been on-boarding WWE Network’s 17,000-plus-hour library of old programming — but some of WWE’s racist and controversial bits from years past are getting expunged in the transition.

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Peacock began adding WWE Network content March 18, and fans have since noticed that some older content is missing.

Among the deleted scenes: A section of WWE’s “Survivor Series event from November 2005, in which chairman/showman Vince McMahon is shown backstage cheerfully greeting John Cena using the n-word within earshot of a confounded Booker T, who says, “Tell me he didn’t just say that.”

Also cut by Peacock is the WrestleMania 6 match from 1990 between the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown, in which Piper (a white performer) appeared in half-blackface to take on his Black opponent. NBCU’s edits to the WWE archive programming were first reported by PWInsider.

The content that is no longer available via Peacock has been previously available on the WWE Network platform. Since 2014, WWE Network has included this disclaimer on older material: “The following program is presented in its original form. It may contain some content that does not reflect WWE’s corporate views and may not be suitable for all viewers. WWE characters are fictitious and do not reflect the personal lives of the actors portraying them. Viewer discretion is advised.” The service also has allowed user to block access to selected programs using WWE Network’s parental-control settings.

Reps for NBCU and WWE declined to comment. The content in question is being removed for distribution on Peacock to conform with NBCU’s standards and practices policies, a source familiar with the situation told Variety.

As previously announced, under the companies’ multiyear deal, WWE Network content including all pay-per-view events will be available on Peacock Premium with ads, regularly priced at $4.99 per month (half the $9.99 monthly cost of WWE Network). WWE Network also will be available on the $9.99/month ad-free version of Peacock Premium. In addition, Peacock Premium with ads is included at no additional cost for Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and Cox Contour customers.

NBCU previously said it will be regularly adding WWE Network archive content to Peacock, aiming to have the full library including all PPV events available before SummerSlam 2021.

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