Wrestling legend Ric Flair has hit back at allegations he ‘forced himself’ on a flight attendant aired in a new television documentary.
The iconic performer and 16-time world champion has never strayed far away from controversy during a storied career.
Flair has always been open about the outrageous stories that have accompanied his time in the industry, a period that began spans all of four decades.
One of the most talked about and rumoured tales from the wider wrestling world during that period was the infamous ‘Plane Ride from Hell.’
WWE had just performed to a huge crowd in London at Wembley Area for their Insurrextion pay-per-view.
Flair had joined legends like The Undertaker, Triple H and Brock Lesnar in performing at the event – but it was the alleged conduct of the now 72-year-old on the flight back to the US that has now come under scrutiny.
The journey was the subject of the latest instalment of the Dark Side of the Ring series – a documentary that explores some of the most controversial moments in wrestling history.
The episode in question touched on several alleged acts of misconduct by individuals on board. Among them were comments made by a flight attendant who appeared to accuse Flair of cornering her on the plane, urging her to touch his genitals.
Flair has hit back, though, insisting the incident ‘never happened’, and saying he condemned sexual assault ‘in any way, shape or form.’
In a statement posted on his Twitter account, the former WWE and WCW star referenced a comprehensive documentary that dug deep into his career – ESPN’s ’30 for 30’ back in 2017.
Adamant that he used that platform to express accountability for many of his transgressions, the performer stressed he’d have included any such tale had it happened.
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“Every person that I’ve worked with has said not to post a response,” he wrote in a lengthy address.
“But’ I’ve never run from past behaviors before and I’m not going to start now.
“I want to clarify a few things: About four years ago, I gave ESPN full access to my life for a “30 for 30” special. They covered taxes, financial issues, adultery, divorces, the passing of my child and drinking/partying AT LENGTH."
Flair went on to quote filmmaker Rory Karpf, who said in an interview he had "never heard" about the allegation that Flair had "forced someone to touch his genitals".
Flair continued: “I allowed my personal life and the lives of my wife and children to be turned upside down for one reason: Whether it’s good or bad, even the really bad, the truth has to matter. Even in wrestling.
“My issues have been well documented over my 40+ year career. The impact of drinking too much (which nearly killed me 5 years ago) has been told time and time and time again. The reason Rory (or anyone else for that matter) never heard stories of me forcing myself on ANYONE is simple: it never happened.”
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In a follow-up statement, we went on to say: "I condemn sexual assault in any way, shape or form. I could (and have) written books (as have others) that have covered my transgressions.
"I’ve made some terrible decisions, but I’ve never forced myself on anyone in any way. Period."
Flair had already parted company with Vince McMahon's empire earlier this year, citing a desire to move in a different direction to WWE.
He said: “That’s all it was. There is no animosity, it’s just business.
“I wanted to try something, and they had a different vision.
“I talked to Vince after it was over and I said: ‘Whatever paths our lives take us, we’re always going to be brothers’. He said, ‘You’re damn right’.
WWE has yet to officially comment on the contents of the documentary, but have quietly removed Flair's likeness from introductions to their recent programming.
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