LOS ANGELES — WWE superstar wrestler Darren Young publicly came out as gay during an unplanned interview with the news entertainment website TMZ late Wednesday.
He is the first openly gay wrestler in the organization — which is the premier professional wrestling company — according to a tweet by WWE Executive Vice President Stephanie McMahon.
Young made the statement while at an airport baggage carrousel in Los Angeles after being asked if “a gay wrestler could be successful within the WWE.”
“Absolutely. Look at me. Ya know. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy,” Young said in response to the question.
The revelation, which is not thought to be part of the wrestler’s onscreen character, apparently caught the cameraman off guard. He stumbled over his response.
“Man, that’s in … that’s … sorry. I’m kinda’ of flabbergasted man. I think … I didn’t know and obviously I think that’s just … I commend your bravery,” the cameraman said.
“I don’t think it matters. Does it matter? Does it matter to you?…Does it change what you think about me?” Young rhetorically asked after making the statement.
“Not an iota,” TMZ’s cameraman said. “In fact I commend you even more that you would share something so beautiful and personal with me.”
“We’re all adults. All sports are physical. When I come to work, I come to work,” Young said. “Business is business.”
He added, “Some people might not like it, and some people will like it.
When contacted by CNN for comment, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., said, “[The] WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar.”
On Thursday, Young was expected to participate in an anti-bullying event in Los Angeles “to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation,” WWE added in its statement.
While Young’s public disclosure made headlines, he is not the first wrestler to come out. In a posthumously released 2011 book, WWE and WCW star Chris Kanyon wrote about being both a gay man and pro wrestler. He committed suicide in April 2010 after battling with mental illness.
Since coming out, John Cena, Triple H, Vince McMahon and several others in the pro wrestling world have voiced support for Young.