I recently had the opportunity to speak to Shiloh Greaves, the wrestler who was at the center of a controversial promo involving him staging the act of spitting in a jug of iced tea and leaving it on a store shelf.
The video sparked lots of outrage after an edited version of it went viral on Twitter, with many people calling for his arrest. As of this writing, it has been seen by over 6 million people. The situation struck a nerve with many people on the internet, leading to some contacting various police departments. Even the LAPD was made aware of what happened and confirmed that the video was a stunt and no crimes had been committed.
The LAPD spoke to the individual in this video, who explained it was a staged promo for a wrestling event. He provided the date, time & location where the tea was purchased & removed from the shelf after the video was filmed, and the purchase was corroborated by store security.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) July 11, 2019
In this interview, Shiloh speaks out about the video, the reaction it garnered, how it impacted his personal life, his thoughts on the way the story was handled by SoCalUncensored, and wrestlers who spoke out against him.
Andrew: You cut a promo back in December I believe that was a follow up to another promo you filmed. Could you briefly explain to everyone what the promo was for and the context behind it?
Greaves: The promo was for a guy who works under the name “Big T” Thomas Moore at New Wave Pro Wrestling in western Indiana. The first video was filmed in an Illinois Walmart in February 2017. It was the first promo I had did with the “ignorant” character and it got me more views/likes than anything I had ever posted. That’s when I knew that I had finally found a groove with a character.
The injury bug kept popping its head in on me and I couldn’t stay consistent work-wise the way I once was. So I stepped back and did some re-evaluating on my health, life, and future. Big T and I had a rematch scheduled for January 2019. I wanted to come back with a bang. I had been brainstorming the character for a long time, I didn’t want this to just be a street thug character. It’s been done too many times. I had to go full on skid row drug addict bum with this.
I had been coming off of a knee injury and a long hiatus from the industry. So I thought “how could I top the last Big T promo ?” I thought about peeing in it. But that wasn’t something I could pull off. So I decided ok, I’ll just spit in the damn thing and say I’m spitting on his legacy. It’s gross, it’s vulgar, it’s Shiloh. I hit the post button and didn’t think much of it. Neither did the world. Nobody cared about it ’til 7 months later.
Andrew: The edited video of your second promo spitting in the jug of tea was posted on Reddit in the subreddit known as /r/iamatotalpieceofshit on July 8th, 2019. It then made it on Twitter when @Stephane774 tweeted it out later that afternoon. The video gained even more traction when a (now suspended) account, @SavageMemeHUB, shared the video and called for your arrest. It also made it to World Star Hip Hip. When did you become aware that the video began to go viral?
Jesus Christ WHY is this becoming a thing ?
(Found video on Reddit) pic.twitter.com/BAtSu1OU06
— Yamamoto97 (@Stephane774) July 8, 2019
Greaves: It was my day off and I spent the day at my friend’s house on 2k just chillin’. I walked home and once I got home I had seen a message from an east coast wrestler on my Instagram asking if that was me. I saw it had 20k views and saw the promo it was from and I was like “wow, this is cool!” Then I clicked on the video and saw it was edited. That’s when I was like “ok, this might not be good. Let me leave it alone.”
By the time that thought exited my head, the views had already increased by over 10k. It was spreading at a rate I’ve never seen anything spread before. Every time I refreshed the page, it just kept growing and growing. Then came the texts from friends, the hate mail, the comments. My phone was exploding. Once I saw my address had been blasted, I deactivated my social media to try and figure out exactly what was going on.
I thought I could just stay silent and hoped it blew over. But everyone was tagging LAPD, Chicago PD (since most work I did this year was in that region), and the FBI. At that point, I was like, come oooonnnnn…But the more I thought about it, the more I was like “fuck that, I’m innocent and have nothing to hide, the public will get the truth if that’s what they want.” So I gave them the truth and the public didn’t want to accept it.
Andrew: You began getting doxed on social media after you were identified. People were calling for acts of violence to be taken against you. What exactly did you experience personally? Did you receive any threats from people directly to you? Did you ever fear for the safety of you and your family?
Greaves: I was called an n-word by a lot of middle American white people and a cracker by a lot of down south black people. So I definitely got the racial attacks from both ends.
I received THOUSANDS of threats. People were posting my address and pictures of my mothers house, and I had a very high fear for my family’s safety. I thought my post would smooth things over but the public only got more hostile with me. I didn’t eat or sleep for 4 days. My job sent me home early because I was exhibiting symptoms of a heat stroke. You know how bad the San Fernando Valley gets in the summer.
Andrew: At 7:39 PM that day, the performer known as Suede Thompson posted on his social media accounts saying that the person in this controversial video was you. Do you feel as if he has any responsibility for all the things that had been happening to you?
Isn’t this the wrestler Shiloh Greaves??
What a piece of fucking trash. https://t.co/EKod4xhLXa
— SUEDE (@SuedeThompson) July 9, 2019
Greaves: He definitely led the charge of workers smearing my name all over the SoCal/Vegas scene. I was surprised. I liked him. But everyone all over the scene was saying he was hellbent on getting me put away. He did zero research. I won’t say he has responsibility for the situation because I believe that was on myself.
However, he jumped the gun and I believe he poured fuel on what was already a raging inferno. It’s like he saw my house was on fire, walked by it, went back to his car and decided to grab a gas can instead of a hose. I like to think I have a good reputation among the boys. I’m nowhere near perfect. But everyone I’ve come across in this industry was met with class and respect by me in every situation.
Seeing a lot of guys I thought I was actually cool with just shit all over me with zero research definitely added to the sting. That’s probably the biggest blessing here. I now know which handshakes were real and fake. That’s why I offered the open challenge on my Facebook to a shoot fight to see if anyone really want to let that aggression out and get paid while we’re at it. Nobody accepted. So I left it at that. So It’s a run-up or shut up deal at this point. If you’re really THAT outraged, then knuckle up. Period.
Luckily there were also people on the scene who really came to bat for me like Sean Black, Mikey O Shea, Manny Mars, Hammerstone and nearly all of the NorCal and Chicago scenes as well were like “Nah, fuck that shit we know who Shiloh is and what he is about.” They knew the devil was at work. I have been wrestling since the age of 13. I’m 25 now so a lot of these guys watched me grow from a boy to man. And I really won’t forget who came to bat for me in what was probably my darkest hour.
Andrew: Fred Gabriel, a local referee, came to your defense and made a comment on a Facebook post about the video saying this was a promo for UEW. UEW came out and denied having any involvement with the promo. What was your reaction when you saw UEW denying any association with your promo and did you feel relief knowing people were standing up for you?
Greaves: Fred’s heart was in the right place at the wrong time. We’ve always had a very good relationship and he was always one of my biggest supporters. But he got it wrong and UEW was forced to make the statement.
I think it was really shitty how they backpedaled though. When I left the Knokx Pro Academy in 2015, they were the first company to book me and told me I was family from that point on. Even the companies I worked for in England made sure to emphasize they were 100% behind me and knew I was innocent. UEW didn’t do that. They just ran. And they were the last ones I expected to do that because, ya know, they’re “rebels”.
And honestly, there was a lot of relief. I feel the wrestling community as a whole; fans, refs, promoters, production guys, photographers, etc., really went and took on the world for me and won. That type of brotherhood is priceless. It’s clear that brotherhood doesn’t run in this city on this scene though. But I think that’s just LA in general. It’s a dog eat dog town.
Andrew: Steve Bryant, a co-founder of SoCalUncensored.com and the person who operates the social media accounts, tweeted about the incident. He reported on the claim made by Fred Gabriel and UEW’s statement. He also tweeted out the full promo the day after the edited video went viral, but it wasn’t as widespread as the edited video. Looking back on it now, in your honest opinion, do you think this hurt you or helped you?
Greaves: SoCaluncensored has buried countless workers over the years. I think the way they handled it originally was probably the worst I’ve ever seen them treat someone. The pic said “RT until [I’m] arrested” and they went and retweeted the tweet along with my name. That just giving the “25-to-life” mob around here, even more, to salivate over. I don’t care whether the article was edited after or not. The damage was done and REALLY made things worse. Terrible journalism. I may have never liked SCU, but I honestly expected better out of them. It made me very hesitant to take this interview.
[Editors note: SoCalUncensored.com did not publish or edit any articles relating to the incident until the article titled “Viral video of Shiloh Greaves is actually an edited clip from a wrestling promo” was published after the issue was fully investigated. SoCalUncensored.com fully stands behind the way we handled the story as it developed.]
Looking back on it, I think all this hatred just woke my career back up. I knew when I did this character I was taking a gamble. Who’s going to book a drug addict character? Not many people. However, this is to document serious issues about mental health and drug abuse in the wrestling industry with a mix of comedy involved. It’s a TV show. A story. This had many more acting related purposes behind it than wrestling.
It’s been a long time since I was even remotely relevant in the ring. Now I’m pretty goddamn warm! It definitely helped me. My booking fee is now higher and so is the amount of booking offers I’m receiving. None are in SoCal. But that’s ok. The wrestling industry can be cancerous, but SoCal, it’s like the cancer is on steroids. I really hope everyone learns to be better to each other and takes this as a lesson.
Andrew: The day after the edited version of the video went viral, the full version of the video was made public. The full context was also reported by Steve here on SoCalUncensored.com. Did you feel a sense of relief when the unedited version of the video came out and this aspect of the story was made public?
Greaves: No. The damage was done and the edited video was beginning to circulate through mainstream media. That video wouldn’t have been made public if it wasn’t for me. Literally, anyone could’ve just went on any of my profiles did some digging and found the full version. But I realized nobody was going to do that. LAPD told me my post was what saved my ass and they believed me 100%.
Andrew: Back to Suede Thompson, after it was discovered this video was for a promo, he doubled down and condemned anyone who defended your promo. During this conversation, you discovered a message he sent you wishing you were sent to prison. Do you have any comments you’d like to publicly make to him regarding this matter?
Greaves: Thanks for helping me get paid. Because that’s literally all he did. Tried to play hero and ended up getting the person he was hating on paid. A lot.
Andrew: In hindsight, if you were to go back in time and re-shoot this promo, would you have done anything differently?
Greaves: No. Not a thing. I had to make the character a look like a smelly disgusting scumbag. I accomplished that.
Andrew: We’re a week removed from this video going viral. Aside from getting more bookings and attention online, how has this changed your life?
Greaves: I’ve been advised by LAPD to avoid the public and especially avoid grocery stores for 4 weeks for my own safety. But I ain’t about to let shit stop me from living my life. This made me more fearless. Once the world wants you dead, I mean, you eventually become numb to fear.
For those that know me, it’s a big deal. I’ve always lived my life the safest way possible. This doesn’t mean I’m going to be reckless. But I’m definitely going to start living a little more.
Andrew: Coming up on the end of this interview, and one thing I personally wanted to ask is do you feel like this was done by someone to capitalize on the current trend of videos showing people tampering with food products in stores? Have there been any thoughts that you were being targeted, or do you think this was just a case of random, bad timing?
Greaves: This had to have been personal, dude. This video didn’t pass 650 views until this all happened. It was stuck at that number for ages. You definitely had to do some real digging to find it too since I’m always putting out skits. It was at the very bottom of my page. I really don’t have any legit enemies in wrestling or on the streets. So something deep down tells me this may have been possibly done by a scorned ex-lover. I can’t see someone just randomly doing this to me.
But then again, I have seen humanity’s ugliest side this week, and it might just be more simple than we think and could’ve just been a random troll after all.
Andrew: To close this out, do you have any words for the people reading this interview?
Greaves: If you are put in a situation where you face accusations and you are innocent, goddammit you better fight. Don’t let the lynch mob get to you the way I let it get to me, don’t be silent, don’t let them paint their picture of you. I tried to play the silent game, but the best thing I could’ve done was to stand my ground with defiance. And I’m very happy I did. Use me as an example, guys.