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Rhea Ripley Sounds Off On 'Entitled' Fans Who Harass WWE Superstars for Autographs
There’s a big difference between being a genuine fan and someone just trying to make money off a WWE Superstar.
In an exclusive interview with USA Insider, WWE Superstar Rhea Ripley sounded off after a particularly unnerving experience at an airport yesterday morning.
First, some background: Just hours before Monday Night RAW on March 20, the No. 1 contender to Charlotte Flair's SmackDown Women's title took to Twitter to vent against some bad apples she had encountered that morning.
Based on this tweet, some "fans" crossed the line. But we knew there was more to this; we wanted to get the full story from Rhea herself. Shortly before RAW, we managed to get in touch with Rhea and spent some time with her once again over the phone as she openly talked about the incident in question.
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We began our conversation with Rhea describing what it's like to be a WWE Superstar on the road, revealing a sometimes-grueling travel schedule, which may come as a surprise for many fans.
"We fly around so much and we travel so much," Rhea told us. "Right now I'm doing both brands, so I'm at the airport pretty much every single day. So I run into fans every single day and there's a lot of them. And when it comes to signing, some of them have piles of the same photos, of the same action figures, of the same pop vinyls, of the same cards — and they want you to sign every single one of them. And if you say, 'Hey, I'm just going to sign one, I've got places to be' — because most of the time we do, we're running late. I was running late to work this morning because I landed so late and I've got to be here at a certain time, and sometimes we just can't sign it all."
Rhea then went into detail about the situation that drove her to write, "Hate me, I don't care" on social media:
"It's sort of an entitled thing when some fans expect us to just do it and they start making a fuss if we say no," she began. "So I had a fan follow me outside the airport today because I said no to them because I didn't have the time and it was all of the same stuff they wanted signed. It was one fan specifically, he's notorious, he's always at the airport getting our signatures and selling them on eBay — we know his face, we know who he is. He was the main instigator, he followed me out and others followed him too and they all followed me as I'm trying to find my Uber. So I'm trying to tell them no and they're all being persistent and I ended up getting lost, I had no idea where my Uber was, and I ended up down the stairs away from everyone else and I'm just surrounded by these five guys and they're just hassling me.
"I don't think people understand how threatening that is," Rhea continued. "Especially because you don't know what's going to happen. I don't know these people."
Hopefully, Rhea's words resonate with the WWE Universe and any person trying to make a quick buck off somebody's name. There's a big difference between asking and harassing, and like in so many other aspects of life, no just means no. Unfortunately, it sounds like a few alleged "fans" need to take a good, hard look in the mirror.
Rhea Ripley is no stranger to speaking her mind, as many in the WWE Universe remember when she famously told body shamers, "This is my body, my choice," last September in response to criticism of her looks.
Of course, just because Rhea is speaking out against some truly reprehensible fans doesn't mean she thinks the entire WWE Universe needs a severe attitude adjustment.
"Like I said before, if you're a genuine fan and you just want a photo with us — we don't mind taking photos," she said. "We love our fans, we love our support, and we love everything about the WWE Universe. If you want a photo, I'm down to take a photo, and I know everyone else is, too. If you have a photo of you and us together, I'm going to sign it because that's a personal thing and I know you're going to keep that and cherish that, and you're a true fan, you're not just trying to make quick money off us while we're at the airport. Especially at an airport, in many cases, we're sleep deprived, we're in a rush, we haven't eaten, and then there's people jumping down our throats expecting something from you. It's just a lot."
We can't put it any better than Rhea did for fans who want to meet their favorite WWE Superstars. But, in the end, it's about respect.
"Just treat us with respect like we're normal human beings instead of products," she said. "I find that a lot of the time when you go to the airport, people that are waiting there, waiting for signatures and autographs, a lot them — not all of them, there is some good ones in the batch that actually want to meet their favorite Superstars and that's all good and fine, but it's the ones that are trying to make money off our signatures and just treat us like we're a product for everyone's use."
Maybe Rhea Ripley used all of this as motivation because just a few hours after we spoke, she steamrolled Bayley in a match on RAW, increasing her momentum ahead of her WrestleMania clash against Charlotte.
But ultimately, as Rhea pointed out, this is just an indication that some in the WWE Universe need to rethink their behavior around her and her fellow WWE Superstars — especially in airports.
Catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.