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Brandi Rhodes On How AEW Handles Diversity Concerns in Hiring, Getting Criticism For Not Knowing Nyla Rose was Trans

April 7, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Nyla Rose AEW Dynamite

Speaking on the AEW Unrestricted Podcast, Brandi Rhodes talked about AEW’s commitment to diversity and how they handle the topic when it comes to hiring people. The company’s open commitment to having a diverse roster and employee base has been a big talking about around the company for fans, and Rhodes talked about how it was an important thing for her because of her experiences as a woman of color.

However, she also pointed out that they don’t make hiring decisions just to “check a box” and that all their decisions are merit-based. Pointing at the most notable example of their diversity in Nyla Rose, who is a trans woman, Rhodes reiterated the oft-stated point that they didn’t know Rose was trans and added that they actually got flack for not being aware of that. You can check out the highlights as well as full podcast below:

On AEW’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity: “Oh man. I mean, if there was anything that was my number one thing in taking on this role, it was ‘How can I make a difference as quickly as possible in this light.’ Because I mean, I’m a woman of color, so I’ve seen a lot. I’m gonna go ahead and tell you how old I am. Every time I do this, people freak out. I’m 36, I’ve been 36, I’ll be 37 next year. [chuckles] But you know, I’ve been through a lot of different things in my life where I was always the only, you know, person with my experience. And there was never anyone else that could relate on any level like that. And I always longed for there to be differences in discussion. And not just people like me, but people who are different that I don’t know their differences, so I can learn something.”

On how AEW has dealt with the diversity topic in hiring decisions: “And the way that this place has kind of come together has been really beautiful in the fact that nothing comes up in these discussions when talent is pitched. It’s just, ‘They’re really great at this, they have — watch this video, they have a great following. Cool, let’s do it.’ Regardless of any background, no one is is sitting there saying, ‘Well you know, we got a guy that’s doing this already [but this one checks a box].’ It’s just all merit based. And when you just do that it opens up the world to everybody, as opposed to just trying to check boxes and fit people into different roles. I think we’ll continue to grow and be more diverse over time. This is just the very beginning, but I’m really happy with what we have put together.”

On people criticizing Nyla Rose as a “diversity hire”: “So here’s something that I — it bothers me when people bring it up about Nyla. All of us — myself, EVPs included — have said that we did not know Nyla. We didn’t know anything about that when we hired her. People are angry that we didn’t know. But there’s nothing on your job application that says, ‘Hey, you have to tell us what your sexual orientation [or gender identity] is. So how would we know unless we have done a really deep dive. And she’s done some things I think in other areas of media where she’s talked about it. But I mean, unless we were really diving in like that, how would we know that? It’s actually a cool thing that we didn’t know, because it just goes to show that merit is what we were looking at.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.