Wrestling with grief: Fan negotiation of professional/private personas in response to the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide

Phillips, Tom ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1732-4514 (2015) Wrestling with grief: Fan negotiation of professional/private personas in response to the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide. Celebrity Studies, 6 (1). pp. 69-84. ISSN 1939-2397

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In 2007, professional wrestler Chris Benoit murdered his wife and young son before killing himself. The shocking incident was made even more significant due to Benoit’s then employment with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the world’s predominant professional wrestling organisation. As a result, WWE ordered a complete censorship of Benoit across its media output, guiding fans to forget him with prejudice. This article presents an examination of how fans contended with the images of Benoit presented to them at the time of the incident – and how this compares with their feelings about him today. With no overriding directive for remembrance, fans have had to negotiate their own memorialisation narratives, which can become contentious among fan communities when individuals attempt to revisit Benoit’s professional output. Through qualitative data conducted via an online survey, this article presents an insight into how relations to professional and private celebrity personas have an impact on contemporary fandom. While the article will not attempt to draw conclusions as to whether Benoit was a ‘monster’ or simply very ill, it will present an image of how fans have had to contend with such images in the formation of their bereavement.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: fandom ,professional wrestling,chris benoit,introjection,celebrity personas,memorialisation,scandal,sdg 3 - good health and well-being,sdg 16 - peace, justice and strong institutions ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/good_health_and_well_being
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Film, Television and Media
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2015 12:14
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 09:37
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/52202
DOI: 10.1080/19392397.2015.995470

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