Lincolnshire

Butlin's apologises for featuring 'Islamic Baddie' in wrestling event

Wrestling match at Butlin's in Skegness Image copyright Christian Ceriso
Image caption The show featured a wrestler called Hakim, who was pitted against an English character named Tony Spitfire

A wrestling show has been criticised for featuring an "Islamic flag-waving baddie" who the crowd were told to boo.

The character, wielding a green flag emblazoned with Arabic writing, was pitted against a Union Flag-bearing opponent during the Superslam show at Butlin's in Skegness.

The holiday camp has apologised after a guest complained that the event was in poor taste.

The show's promoters said they had made a "clear error of judgement".

Father-of-two Christian Cerisola, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, complained after attending the bout with his children on Saturday.

Mr Cerisola described the show as "an horrific race hate-filled 10 minutes with everything wrong on racial stereotypes".

'Completely unacceptable'

He said: "I felt I was dropped into the middle of a Britain First rally.

"Out came 'Hakim', an Islamic flag-waving baddie, and then came Union flag trunk-wearing Tony Spitfire, chanting 'En-Ger-land' over and over.

"It was the fact we were encouraged to cheer the Englishman with his jingoistic name, Tony Spitfire, and boo a very stereotypical style of Muslim.

"In my mind we were led to believe Hakim was the Muslim against the good English guy."

A spokesman for Butlin's said it was "very concerned" to receive the complaint and an investigation had been launched.

"We thank the guest for bringing this to our attention," he said. "We have since spoken to him to assure him this is a matter we are investigating and to apologise for the distress caused.

"We would like to assure guests that this was a very unfortunate one-off which we find completely unacceptable, and is totally contrary to Butlin's values. It will not happen again."

Brian Dixon, managing director of All-Star Wrestling, said: "Saturday's wrestling show was different to the agreed content, and Butlin's were not made aware of the change.

"We regret this clear error of judgment, as well as the obvious offence and upset caused.

"We wish to apologise to Butlin's and their guests, and stress that this will not happen again."

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