Abi Instagram Scandal

Early this week, a video was posted to Abi’s Instagram feed showing Wakamotoharu bound by his wrists and legs, and gagged. The video was less than a minute long and showed Wakamotoharu escaping from the bonds to the sounds of off-camera laughter. Your humble editor saw the video half-asleep, thought, “Kids these days”, rolled over and went back to bed.

Followers of the Tachiai Twitter account and Herouth’s account likely saw a brief exchange about how the drama was playing out on Social Media. Some were even calling for intai as this would be a bullying scandal. I would presume bullying would require a victim…in which case it seems Wakamotoharu was a willing Houdini-like participant.

There has now been reprimands and apologies, so it went past embarrassing prank-dom and into micro-scandal. Let’s hope there are no more, but, alas, the calendar has been changed to reflect the date of the latest “scandal.”

2 thoughts on “Abi Instagram Scandal

  1. Basically, the scandal aspect here is not so much in what transpired between Abi and Wakamotoharu, but rather an issue of public image and potential for misunderstanding, in the publishing of that prank on social media.

    Abi and Wakamotoharu are best buddies, and they pull pranks on each other. Wakamotoharu posted, in the aftermath of this scandal, that he trusts Abi implicitly. This video, by the way, was retaliation for a similar prank Wakamotoharu did to Abi and posted it (which is the reason why both were disciplined).

    So most sensible people knew there was no bullying or violence in this case. At most, people pointed out that this rough horseplay was dangerous. However, there were many less sensible people watching it. Some misconstrued it as “yet another case of bullying”, and interpreted the laughs of the guys around as the laughs of tormentors enjoying their victim’s misery.

    Kagamiyama oyakata, in charge of the crisis management committee, explained that sekitori are “kanban rikishi”. That is, they are the public face of the kyokai, and should exercise discretion in their public communications, especially in times like this, when the public is primed to expect violent incidents and abuses of power, and misunderstandings can develop.

    So, the calls for intai were downright silly, but the two clowns will be officially reprimanded, will have to hand in letters of apology. Their oyakata had to apologize publicly. And then, the hardest punishment: their social network accounts were shut down. That’s IG and Twitter at least, not sure if they had others.

    Note that there are still some silly people on Twitter who are angry about this light punishment and think that if they were (former) Takanohana rikishi they would have fared worse.

  2. I feel like, given how recently sumo had a violence scandal, Abi’s old enough to know what the optics of the situation would be. (If this had been two Jonidan actual-kids, I would have different expectations.) However, I think the slap on the wrist is more than enough for a punishment.


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