From Variety’s Michael Schneider (link courtesy Ben Schwartz)
World Wrestling Entertainment and UPN have heard from several concerned viewers following last Thursday’s “WWE Smackdown,” which depicted a terrorist-like attack involving a group of Arab-Americans and a wrestling opponent.
The episode aired the same day as the subway and bus bombings in London; UPN ran a crawl on its screen four times through the broadcast, noting that, “In light of today’s tragic events in London, parental discretion is advised in viewing this episode.”
That wasn’t enough of a warning for some viewers, who took offense at the depiction of Arab-American wrestlers Daivari and Muhammad Hassan (above right) — who was shown in the episode praying while five men wearing ski masks rushed the ring and choked the “good guy,” longtime WWE wrestler the Undertaker.
WWE and UPN said they were unable to alter the episode, due to the tight timeframe between the show’s taping earlier in the week and its Thursday night timeslot.
The Iron Sheik and Hacksaw Duggan carpool was unavailable for comment. Still, this sounds like a more even-handed depiction of Arab-Americans than most of last season’s episodes of “24”.