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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Dan Gartland

AEW’s Dr. Britt Baker Reacts to Backlash Over Black Eye T-Shirt: ‘I Was Very Surprised’

AEW wrestler Dr. Britt Baker was involved in controversy this week over a newly released T-shirt featuring her bruised face. 

On the April 21 episode of Dynamite, Baker came to the defense of Adam Cole (her real-life boyfriend) as he was being beaten down by Chris Jericho and Daniel Garcia. After confronting Jericho, Baker was attacked by The Outcasts (Saraya, Toni Storm and Ruby Soho). The attack left Baker with a black eye, which she showed off in an Instagram post two days later. AEW subsequently began selling a shirt featuring the photo Baker had posted, which proved to be controversial. 

After a fan wrote in a tweet to Baker that the shirt “supports domestic violence,” Baker responded with a tweet dismissing the criticism. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated’s Robin Lundberg, Baker expanded on her thoughts

“I was very surprised. When I posted the picture of my black eye on social media, it got almost 100,000 likes [and comments saying] that I’m tough and I’m a badass and, ‘Wow, this girl, she’s strong.’ It was empowering,” Baker said. “But then when it went on a shirt, it was really problematic, and that was so confusing to me. Because why? If I’m on a shirt with a black eye, why does that make me weak? Why does that make me a victim? But if a man, or Chris Jericho, had a black eye, they’d be tough and they’d be a badass. 

“To me, it’s showing the internal narrative that people are saying about women—and that’s that we’re not as strong or as tough as the men, and that’s the real problem here. It’s not a black eye on a T-shirt. Sometimes I do get hurt. I’ve broken my leg, my wrist, my nose—and guess what? Now I have a black eye and I signed up for that. I’ve actually been telling the makeup artist, ‘Don’t cover up my black eye.’ Because I think it’s empowering, because I’m tough. You should see the other girl.”

According to Wrestling Observer’s Bryan Alvarez, the black eye shirt was AEW’s highest-selling merchandise item the weekend it was released. 

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