In case you’ve missed it, there are allegations being made that Sgt. Slaughter was not a United States Marine as he’s repeatedly claimed. The Sgt. Slaughter “stolen valor” accusations are taking the wrestling world by surprise and while it’s too early to tell whether the accusations are true, there are some other important questions that need to be answered—1) did the WWE know and if so, how long have they been concealing the story?; and 2) why haven’t the intrepid self-proclaimed wrestling journalists reported on a story that dates back to at least 1985?
Whether you’re a casual fan or wrestling diehard, you’ve heard of WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter (aka Bob Remus), the Marine Corps drill instructor turned wrestler who initially played a heel then became a super-over babyface during the mid-80’s as the United States experienced a resurgence of patriotism. Slaughter’s 1990 return to the WWF as an Iraqi sympathizer during the Persian Gulf crisis proved controversial, but not as controversial as the accusations being made against Slaughter.
Everyone knows wrestling is populated with colorful characters with fictitious pasts, a tradition dating back to the earliest days of the industry’s worked days (wait, Gorilla Monsoon wasn’t a Manchurian monster?). In Remus’s case however, he’s always claimed to be a Marine, even going on record as claiming he served tours of duty during the Vietnam Conflict in Vietnam.
Twitter user SoCalUncensored (who has no affiliation with the tag team) posted a clipping from a 1985 Baltimore Sun article which mentions there being no record of Slaughter having served in the military along with the following tweet:
“This came up on the WON board, but I’ll post here too. Sgt. Slaughter was never in the USMC. While its fine that he portrays a character that was a Marine, him doing non-kayfabe interviews claiming to serve 2 tours in Vietnam, that he was a drill instructor, etc. is not good. “
I independently checked newspaper archives and verified the story was published in the Baltimore Sun’s magazine section on March 24, 1985. According to the article:
Government records reveal Slaughter aka Robert Remus, never served time in the U.S. Marine Corps although he claims to have been a drill instructor from 1966 to 1973. Slaughter dodges all questions about his armed service record—for good reason.
Equally interesting was another section of the article dealing with how Slaughter answered the allegations “Slaughter’s response? ‘We have no comment on that,’ said Maria Passerelli, his secretary-booking agent in Westport, Conn.”
Fast forward to 2020 and people seem to be losing their minds over the 1985 story. Ironically, the Baltimore Sun published an interview in 2015 where Slaughter discussed appearing at a Military Appreciation Night. When asked “Does that, your appearances any more special to you, that you’re representing the military?” Slaughter replied:
“It’s great to be able to say thank you and salute all those that served or are serving. I’m really happy to be part of anything that gives those people recognition. It doesn’t matter what branch they served, it’s all one. It just is a great night to give a salute and say thank you and watch a baseball game. To be able to give back, even a little bit, to them after all of the sacrifices they made for us is very special.”
Slaughter’s comments here don’t acknowledge any service in the military, but at the same time, they don’t deny any service. However, Slaughter did make several admissions to military service when he appeared on the Jim and Sam Show. There, he revealed he served on the ground in Vietnam, earning the nickname “Sgt. Slaughter” there. Slaughter also answered questions about post-traumatic stress disorder and the reactions Vietnam veterans received after returning home.
Slaughter has been wrestling for so long that you’d think that someone would have called him out about his alleged fake service, especially in 1990 when he participated in the disgusting angle where he played an Iraqi sympathizer while the U.S. was preparing for possible military action against Iraq.
Someone digging up a 35-year-old newspaper article is interesting, but why has no one ever followed up on the story? It’s a question that needs to be addressed, but as bad as things might be for Bob Remus if proven true (which so far, hasn’t happened), there are equally important questions to ask.
What did the WWE know about Sgt. Slaughter’s military service? You may recall reading an article at WWE.com that profiled Superstars who served in the military. Sgt. Slaughter’s name (as you’d expect) was brought up:
Former WWE Champion Sgt. Slaughter’s persona as a tough-as-nails Marine drill instructor was no fluke. After graduating from high school, young Robert Remus joined the United States Marine Corps where he earned the moniker “Sgt. Slaughter.”
It’s almost impossible to imagine how the WWE doesn’t know Slaughter’s actual military record. If it comes out that Slaughter did not serve in the military and the WWE knew, it will be the latest black eye for the company, especially in light of the promotion’s work with the military including its Tribute to the Troops events. The public and the government have condemned people for faking a military past and even passed the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 which criminalizes someone who claims to have served in the military, embellish their rank or fraudulently claim having received a valor award specified in the Act, with the intention of obtaining money, property, or other tangible benefit. If the allegations prove true, it should be fun watching the WWE try to spin that they never knew about Sgt. Slaughter’s past.
It will also be fun to watch the dirtsheets jump all over the story after decades of ignoring it. If the allegations prove true, it will be another instance of the dirtsheets missing a significant story. The self-proclaimed wrestling journalists will have egg on their respective faces (yet again) if the story turns out to be true as they either missed it or chose not to report it. If they missed it, it’s not a surprise as they’ve missed big stories before. If they chose not to report it, it’s another example of why some people (myself included) think the wrestling newsies are a little too close with the people they’re supposed to be covering.
Are the allegations against Sgt. Slaughter true? It’s too early to tell but if they prove true, there are more people than Bob Remus who have explaining to do.