There can be no question about it … Journey Pro is a significant piece of our lives. We put every bit of passion and exuberance into it we can muster, because we want it to be a big part of your life too. We care about professional wrestling, and we care about our pro wrestling family, in the many weird and wonderful forms that can take.
We want Journey Pro to not just be an entertainment option … let’s be honest, it’s 2019, and we all have more entertainment options than we can reasonably handle. We are inundated with all the movies, music, games (and yes, wrestling) basically in human history.
How do we make this different?
It’s simple, really. It’s about building a community together. It’s about exploring a mutually bonding experience, and letting us all go on the journey (yes, I went there) together.
In order for that to happen, our family must feel safe, comfortable, and like they belong. And all of us … from me, Ben, and DJ, down to the person who stumbles in by accident looking for Fuel … all of us have a responsibility to maintain and protect that feeling. To take care of our family.
So what’s allowed?
So many things. Not even just allowed, but encouraged. We want you to yell. We want you to cheer, we want you to boo. It’s a bar, so you can curse if you want (with the exceptions being named later). You can hop up and down, you can dance in the aisles, you can pray or have a seance, you can (and should) bang the Retro Rick drum. Be loud, be raucous, be a part of the fun. (If you call a wrestler an asshole though, expect them to call you one back.) We want you to enjoy yourself, and making a lot of noise makes it fun for everyone.
What isn’t allowed?
This should be crystal clear: there is no room for hate or bigotry at a Journey Pro event, community gathering, or on our social media. No discrimination or derogatory, shitty behavior is allowed: if you shout epithets or hateful statements based on race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or religion, we are going to kick your ass straight out. That list isn’t meant to be exclusive, by the way. It’s 2019, and you know if you’re being an asshole.
Speaking of being an asshole, don’t harass other fans (or wrestlers. Or families of wrestlers. Use some sense here). No aggressive or threatening behavior, no unwanted sexual advances, no lewd commentary, no bullying. We want this to be a cathartic place where people can feel free to be themselves and accepted by those around them. If you fuck that up, those people who feel marginalized won’t want to come back. And eventually, it will only be assholes. And I’d rather go out of business than put on an event where I try to appease entitled assholes who wanted to keep wrestling only for themselves and people like them.
Also, don’t touch the wrestlers. Come on now, this is 101.
How can we help?
Some of the most discouraging experiences that I’ve had involved stories I heard about bad behavior that went unreported. Where someone was harassed or bullied and they didn’t think to bring it up … this tells me too much. It tells me that these things happen far too often, and that it hasn’t always been considered important by people in charge. That victims of this sort of shittiness don’t believe there will be any action taken to stop it. Well, let’s just put a stop to that right here.
If you see something that clearly breaks our code of conduct, please let one of us know … me, a staff member, a bartender, and we *will* take care of it. I would be heartbroken if you left our show thinking I was on board with someone saying something hateful, misogynistic, homophobic, or threatening.
What is our feel good takeaway?
This code of conduct isn’t about being punitive. It’s not about being threatening. It’s not about litigious concerns, and it’s not even about trying to address a rash of incidents. You as our fans have almost universally blown away our expectations so far in terms of acceptance, tolerance, and frankly, just being great fucking fans.
This is about letting new people who are thinking about coming to Journey Pro know just how cool you are, and preemptively address concerns they have about whether professional wrestling has a place for them. To be able to look them directly in the eye, and say, without hesitation …. “Absolutely, yes. Come join us, and be part of this special thing with us.”
We love you all. And thanks for helping encourage all of us to provide a better example.