Gay wrestler Anthony Bowens and boyfriend sent hate so ‘brutal’ he can’t even repeat it

Wrestler Anthony Bowens and YouTube star boyfriend Michael Pavano at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

All Elite Wrestling star Anthony Bowens has opened up about the homophobic abuse he receives on the YouTube channel he shares with his boyfriend, Michael Pavano.

The revelation came as the wrestler was asked about a recent incident in which a fan was heard shouting a homophobic slur at him during a match.

The fan was heard on AEW Dynamite shouting “f**king f*g” at Bowens as he competed in an eight-man tag match alongside his Acclaimed teammate Max Caster on 9 December.

Speaking to TMZ Sports about the incident, the 30-year-old explained: “Unfortunately, that kind of stuff comes with the territory, being out LGTBQ athlete. This is actually the first time I’ve audibly heard something like that during a performance or television.

“It’s not indicative of the AEW fans at all because any interaction I’ve had with them since starting the company has all been positive. It’s the first time it’s happened in that sense.”

Anthony Bowens then revealed the platform where he more regularly encounters homophobic abuse as he continued: “I have really thick skin and I’m kind of used to it… My boyfriend Michael and I, we have our own YouTube channel and when we first started that, the comments were brutal. I can’t even repeat them. We’re kind of used to that.

“There’s always one person who oversteps the line and this time it was picked up on camera and I’m kind of glad it was because it amplifies the message that we still have work to do, but it also shows there is so much positivity out there from the response, which as awesome to see.”

The wrestler, who came out as gay in 2019, continues to brush off the abuse he receives as he continues to campaign for LGBT+ visibility in sports.

Indeed, he went viral earlier this month after sharing a defiant picture of him kissing his YouTube star boyfriend in front of a crowd of Christian homophobes.

Anthony Bowens made his professional wrestling debut in 2013 after playing baseball in college and signed a five-year contract with All Elite Wrestling in 2020.

He came out as bisexual and began dating Pavano in 2017, before later coming out as gay in 2019.

The wrestler told Sports Illustrated in 2019: “I’m representing the LGBT+ community and athletes that are LGBT+, but even more than that, too. I’m representing the small-town kid who was told he’d never make it, and I’m here for the shy kid that is ready to burst out of his shell and be that social butterfly.

“To know that I’m having a positive impact on people is a blessing, and makes me feel that I made the right decision to come out.”