A Statement from WAM
For three days straight, people have demanded a statement from WAM. Here's our statement.
People scream and shout and demand tolerance, acceptance, inclusion, and equality - but then refuse to extend any of these to those whose beliefs differ from theirs, no matter how harmless their worldview may be.
Liberty 76 was launched by a man - an American, Christian man - who is raising money for Folds of Honor and local inner-city/homeless populations. As much as social media loves to witch-hunt - we've been watching people scramble for 72 hours to figure out who could possibly be the person behind Liberty 76 (all of the answers were wrong, by the way) - we also know how much of an inconvenience it is for some folks to actually research and get their facts straight before shoving their opinions down everyone's throats, so we'll save everybody the hassle and explain where the proceeds for this design are going.
Sales of these shirts benefit (1) Folds of Honor, a non-profit organization providing educational scholarships to the families of deceased and disabled service members, and (2) a local non-profit organization offering food, clothing, community, and education to underprivileged folks - including inner-city children and homeless adults.
"But the design is offensive!"
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of the country you live in. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a Christian. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with combining the two.
Have patriotism and Christianity been misrepresented over the years? Absolutely. We're not denying anything there - and if you've been personally affected, or mistreated by anyone under the symbol of an American flag, or a cross, or a Bible verse, we see your frustration. And we're sorry that happened.
But those misrepresentations do not define a country as a whole, nor do they define a religious belief as a whole. They don't define a t-shirt with an American flag and a cross on it, or anyone who chooses to wear it. And they don't make the man selling those t-shirts a bigot, fascist, racist, nationalist, white supremacist, QAnon, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, far right extremist, or any other woke buzzwords we've seen thrown around over the last three days. (Does anyone really know what they're saying anymore? Or are we just throwing words out to throw words out?)
WAM started as a side project in 2013. By 2016, we had opened the platform for other people to sell their designs. And we've held that same open platform for the past six years, allowing folks to sell their merchandise through us - pro wrestling, music, podcasts, designers, non-profits, yoga teachers, magazines, photographers, websites, record labels - with no real conditions or restrictions. Have we turned away a few submissions? We have, yeah - we've attempted to run this as a legitimate, family-friendly business, because business is business and we'd like to keep things somewhat clean - but 99% of what has been submitted to us over the past six years, we've hosted it. No matter the content, no matter the genre, no matter the belief. Transgender rights, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+, anti-Trump, American flags, Canadian flags, anti-religion - we've hosted it all, and everything in between.
Have we agreed with every design we've hosted, or every cause our vendors chose to donate their proceeds to? We haven't. But WAM has not existed for our personal opinions - it has existed to provide an open platform for everyone. An inclusive platform, for everyone.
The irony in people selling "Wrestling Is for Everyone" designs on WAM being some of the first to demand their merchandise be removed from our site when this design went up. It's either for everyone, or it's for you and the people who have your approval. Make up your mind.
For those who spent the entire weekend calling out WAM for not responding to the backlash immediately - it's called having a life outside of social media. We deleted all of our personal accounts in 2010 and left social media for a few years. It was great. Highly recommend it. Came back when we realized we could grow a business and make some money with it. Spent a lot of years making sure we were on top of everything - every post, every DM, every email - and it turned into WAM being known for our customer service. It also turned into social life being put on the backburner because we were intent on making sure everyone was happy, everyone was being promoted, everyone was making money, and the business was growing. So yeah, we've spent some time lately trying to exist outside of spending 24/7 building a company.
Were we keeping an eye on the backlash this weekend? Absolutely. But here's the deal - I finished up last week's final two releases early on Friday. Took the rest of the day off to spend time with my family. Drove around. Bought a toaster. My best friend came over with his baby on Saturday. Chased the baby around and listened to Kanye. Went to church on Sunday. Weekend stuff. Meanwhile - literally thousands of people were freaking out on social media about a flag and a cross, burning down a company we've spent nearly ten years building, with no knowledge on what the actual intent was behind the design.
"But you owed us an explanation immediately!" No, we did not. We released and promoted a design, exactly how we have released and promoted everyone's designs for six years, without explaining to 600 other store owners why we were selling designs they may personally disagree with. Some people chose to jump to conclusions. Some chose to try to tear down a business over a weekend. Some chose to send us emails at 3:00am letting us know we're scum of the earth, and how they didn't want to sell their merch on WAM anymore because they're afraid their customers would have to suffer through - the horror - seeing an American flag and a cross on the same website. The same American flag and cross that they'll see driving through any neighborhood, any town, any city in the country. The horror.
For those emailing us with requests to remove your stores - this will be taken care of by the end of this week. No questions asked. Your payouts for the month of March will be sent out April 1st - the first business day of the month, as they always have been. For those who have publicly asked us on Twitter to remove your stores - we are not digging through 2,000+ tweets to find your request. Stop virtue signaling and email us.
For those demanding refunds for your setup fees - setup fees are not refundable. Setup fees are payment for a service. We provided the service. We set up your stores, your designs, your product lines, and promoted each of your releases across social media - often times promoting more than you did yourselves. If you did not sell anything during your time with WAM, or if you disagree with the personal beliefs of our other clients, that is not our fault.
And for those saying WAM has "betrayed" anyone or anything we stood for - once again, we have always existed as an open platform. As long as you're a decent human, and treat people well, everyone is welcome. Did we capitalize when another well-known merch company made mistakes? We did. It's called competition. This is a business. We have catered, and will continue to cater, to folks who have been shunned elsewhere - whether that's as a client or as a customer - and we stand by the belief that we offer a higher quality product and a higher quality experience for everyone involved. Folks had poor experiences elsewhere, and we capitalized on that by providing a better experience - and we used social media to spark the flames, because people don't pay attention unless there's a little drama involved these days.
On that note - we've joked about leaving social media for years. There's a lot of good folks involved, and we've been able to run a business for nearly a decade because of it... But it's time to close shop on the Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr accounts.
WAM will continue to exist as a website, and our email is open - if you're interested in opening a store, or just need a printer to hook you up with merch to sell at shows, or through your own online store to avoid the middle man - drop us a line. Screen printing, DTG, embroidery - we've got you covered. But after this statement goes up, we're cleaning up a few odds & ends, taking a family vacation, and we're calling it a day on social media.
Cutting off our own mic before we end up telling a personal story about Vince McMahon.
they said you can rap about anything except for jesus
that means guns, sex, lies, videotape -
but if i talk about god, my record won't get played, huh?