Popular holiday resort chain Butlins have been embroiled in a racism row after audiences were encouraged to boo at a ‘stereotype Muslim’ during one of their wrestling entertainment shows at their Skegness camp.
Complaints were made by parents after the Asian wrestler, named ‘Hakim’ was introduced by the announcer on the night. Crowds were urged to boo the character.
Heading down to the ring, waving a green flag with Arabic writing, he faced off against the ‘Union flag trunk wearing’ Tony Spitfire.
Leading a chorus of ‘Eng-er-land’ chants, Tony was the ‘good guy’ for the bout whilst Hakim took up the role of ‘villain’.
In attendance on the night was Christian Ceriso, from Newcastle, who was holidaying at Butlins with his wife and two young daughters, aged eight and six.
After arriving late to the wrestling, he says he was greeted by a ‘lazy stereotype of a Muslim character’, which only served to promote racism in the crowd.
“It was ten of the most awkward minutes I think I have ever sat through,” he told the Asian Express.
Mr Ceriso said that at the time he felt like he’d been ‘dropped into the middle of a Britain First rally’ and that it was ‘a horrific race hate-filled ten minutes of everything wrong on racial stereotypes.’
“I have grown up in the era of Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy and completely understand the need for a ‘goodie’ and a ‘baddie’,” said Christian Ceriso.
“It just seems these promoters have gone a lazy way about establishing these roles.”
Mr Ceriso hasn’t spoken to his daughters about the match since, yet has made a complaint to Butlins.
“I understand we were led to believe that Hakim was this evil foreigner against the good English guy,” he said.
“In English wrestling I don’t think we need racial, religious or national stereotypes to establish who is good or bad.”
Butlin’s have said that they have lodged a complaint with Superslam Wrestling – the company that organised the show.
Resort director, Chris Baron, has since released a statement explaining how parts of the show did not follow ‘agreed content’.
Mr Baron said: “We had a wrestling company in on Saturday who did a show we are not happy about.
“That part of the show was not agreed. It was not funny or acceptable. It is a company we have used for years and years.
“For some reason they tweaked that part of the show, which we did not know about. Our entertainment manager picked it up straight away.”