wrestling / News

Ethel Johnson’s Family Speaks Out About WWE Using Wrong Footage In Hall of Fame Induction

April 12, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE Hall of Fame Legacy Wing 2021

Ethel Johnson’s induction into the Legacy Wing of the WWE Hall of Fame featured footage of the wrong wrestler, and Johnson’s family has spoken out about the gaffe and more. As previously reported, when the company did their footage for the Legacy Hall of Fame inductions they mistakenly used footage of Sandy Parker, a wrestler who debuted much later than Johnson. Johnson’s grandaughter Michaiah Goodwin posted to Twitter to call attention to the mistake, writing:

“Y’all need to fix this because if you’re going to use my aunt Ethel in the hall of fame at least reach out to the family! And the video you guys used isn’t her! Ethel Johnson was the FIRST BLACK CHAMPION EVER! If you’re going to represent her, represent her CORRECTLY!”

The family of Johnson spoke with Chris Bournea about the induction, and you can check out the full video below.

Johnson’s daughter Shelly Adams noted that Johnson was not the first African American female wrestler, but rather the first African American female champion. Babs Wingo, Johnson’s sister, was actually the first African American female wrestler. “They inducted her as the first African American female wrestler,” Adams said (h/t to Fightful for the transcription). “She needs to be inducted as the first African American female champion. They did not contact anybody. I didn’t get any contact until after I reached out and saw what they put up. I contacted WWE. They contacted me back, I told them what the errors were in the video. They said they were going to correct it. They didn’t know when the corrections were going to be made. They recently reached out to me and said they made the corrections, but I can’t find the original advertisement or video. I don’t know what they corrected.”

Johnson’s niece Kim Goodwin Martin noted that she felt embarrassed and disrespected when the wrong information and footage was used, adding, “How come you didn’t invite us to accept the award on behalf of my aunt? You didn’t call us because you knew you were doing wrong. They had plenty of time to get the information. They decided to put out what they wanted to put out. What they put out was untrue. It should be on the site with a big apology.”

Goodwin added, “They only care when something blows up. If it wasn’t for articles, I’m not even sure they would’ve tried to change it.”

Adams said that they want WWE to make things right, saying, “If they come out, apologize, and recognize the history before, then we can move on.”

WWE has yet to acknowledge the error or issue a correction.