WWE appears to have a Drake Wuertz problem

After multiple email gaffes, the discovery of what purports to be his Parler account gives further cause for concern.

Enjoy? Want to support this work and get exclusive content, like source materials and notes from the Babyface v. Heel podcast that finally debuts in the next week or so? Then please subscribe for just $5/month or $50/year. Even if you’re not able to pay right now, please at least consider signing up for the free version, which will deliver all of the free posts directly to your email inbox, as well free preview excerpts of the paid subscriber-exclusive articles.


I had been considering writing something like this for a while, but this past Friday night, it became clear that now is the time. In the last few months, I’ve reported on WWE referee and talent liaison Drake Wuertz’s curious use of his work email account:

  • First writing for VICE about his use of it in his work as a volunteer for Operation Underground Railroad (or OUR), a QAnon-adjacent “anti-child trafficking” charity (the founder of which had tried to legitimize the Wayfair child trafficking conspiracy theory), complete with offers to help get WWE stars to appear at a fundraising event.

  • Then reporting here that he somehow thought it was a good idea to put in an email to Samantha “Candy Cartwright” Tavel that he was cancelling her NXT extra bookings because “there were some past issues I wasn’t aware of with you and one of our talent that would not make for an ideal work environment.” (Even if you go with the assumption that he was buying into Matt Riddle’s claims that she was a violent stalker and not that he was helping Riddle retaliate over her rape allegation against the former UFC fighter, putting that in an official email is not exactly a good idea.)

In the meantime, as more and more people became aware of Wuertz’s ties to OUR, others started whispering about the increasing distaste for him within NXT thanks to his views, but there was never really anything reportable. Occasionally, he would, on Instagram, go slightly further than the “#SaveTheChildren”-heavy, plausibly deniable soft-QAnon material that he usually posted, like the time his Instagram story included this screenshot:

Drake Wuertz shares disinformation from “Eddie Penney” about the California law that ended discrimination in statutory rape cases by not distinguishing between types of sex acts when determining severity of sentencing. (Image: Instagram screenshot)
Drake Wuertz shares misinformation from “Eddie Penney” about the California law that ended discrimination in statutory rape cases by not distinguishing between types of sex acts when determining severity of sentencing. (Image: Instagram screenshot)

First of all, unlike Drake’s usual Instagram posts, the bulk of the content here was outright misinformation. All that SB-145 (the bill in question) did was make it so that sex acts other than vaginal penetration are not treated different in statutory rape cases. (The older laws, with harsher sentencing for other sex acts, unfairly discriminated against anyone who would be highly unlikely to engage in vaginal intercourse, i.e. much of the LGBTQ community.) The law has nothing to do with “lower[ing] penalties for adults who have sex with children,” just bringing sentencing parity across different sex acts. On top of that, though, the use of the “#satanic” hashtag can easily be read as an oblique nod to QAnon, as a core tenet of the underlying conspiracy theory is that a group of Satanic Democrats is molesting and killing children.

Other than that, though? It seemed like Drake, if he was a QAnon believer, or perhaps even more than that, knew enough to not being completely obvious about it in public forums. That feeling changed on Friday night, when the Twitter account for the Virtual Pros podcast tweeted that there was a Drake Wuertz account on Parler, the “free speech” alternative to Twitter that has become a hotbed of right wing extremist activity. There, the account in question, @DrakeWuertzFLA, was following the official account of “western chauvinist” collective The Proud Boys:

Given The Proud Boys’ reported ties to white supremacists, I wanted to dig in further and quickly registered a burner account on Parler. After all, Drake Wuertz isn’t just a referee; he’s now part of WWE’s Talent Relations department as the official liaison for booking extras onto WWE’s NXT-branded shows. If someone in that position were to express support for baseless conspiracy theories while crossing paths with extremist figures like The Proud Boys, it would very much be a problem. So I took to Parler, and my first stop, @DrakeWuertzFLA’s “following” list, featured more red flags. Before we get into those, a note: As of Sunday, November 15th, this account, @DrakeWuertzFLA, was gone, with @TheDrakeWuertz appearing in its place. I didn’t save anything during the second account’s brief existence, though you can still see a trace of it in this screenshot of when I sent the link to a friend in a direct message on Twitter:

The only record I have at the moment of the @TheDrakeWuertz account on Parler, which disappeared within a day of being created. (Image: Twitter DM screenshot.)
The only record I have at the moment of the @TheDrakeWuertz account on Parler, which disappeared within a day of being created. (Image: Twitter DM screenshot.)

Unlike @DrakeWuertzFLA, @TheDrakeWuertz’s bio did specify that an account @DrakeWuertzFLA had interacted with, @WuertzFamily, was his wife. As you’ll see later in this article, @DrakeWuertzFLA has engaged with posts from @WuertzFamily, which has less than 30 followers and would likely be seeing all of the engagement on her posts. Meanwhile, as of Monday, the original @DrakeWuertzFLA account is back, albeit set to private and seemingly with its followers purged (@WuertzFamily isn’t following it now, for example.) @WuertzFamily, it should be noted, also follows and shares content from the official Proud Boys account:

Anyway, back to the activity on the first account, which has hallmarks of a legitimate account:

  • It was set up in late June, just before he started posting about Operation Underground Railroad on Instagram.

  • The account followed locals that he’s interacted with elsewhere (like Willie J. Montague).

  • @DrakeWuertzFLA interacted with genuine-seeming family member accounts.

  • The page went undetected for months because of the minimal wrestling community presence on Parler, with nobody really drawing attention to it until the hosts of Virtual Pros were tipped off last week.

  • A fake troll account designed to get Drake in trouble would likely go a lot further than @DrakeWuertzFLA did; the page feels like a logical extension of his other social media pages and not an aberration.

So let’s take a deeper look. First up among some of the account’s notable “following” entries, albeit maybe the least least surprising one, was Jack Posobiec:

This one is pretty simple: Posobiec played a role in helping spread the baseless “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which claimed that John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chair, was abusing children in a basement underneath a Washington, DC pizzeria. Pizzagate would more or less morph into QAnon, which is rooted in the belief that Clinton and her circle of Democratic Party elites are Satanists ritually torturing children so they can harvest a magical blood drug, “adrenochrome,” from said children’s corposes. (If this sounds like the centuries-old anti-Semitic “blood libel” conspiracies to you, then you’re far from the only one.) Though Posobiec is vocally anti-QAnon, his Pizzagate activism makes it arguable that his allegiances are a distinction without a difference, plus he has reported ties to white supremacists.

Going back to The Proud Boys for a moment, @DrakeWuertzFLA has both echoed and voted a post claiming, without any explanation, that they’re not a white supremacist group:

@DrakeWuertzFLA “echoes” a Parler post claiming, without support or any other kind of explanation, that The Proud Boys are not a white supremacist group. (Image: Parler screenshot)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “echoes” a Parler post claiming, without support or any other kind of explanation, that The Proud Boys are not a white supremacist group. (Image: Parler screenshot)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “votes” a Parler post claiming, without support or any other kind of explanation, that The Proud Boys are not a white supremacist group. (Image: Parler screenshot)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “votes” a Parler post claiming, without support or any other kind of explanation, that The Proud Boys are not a white supremacist group. (Image: Parler screenshot)

@DrakeWuertzFLA also “voted” a Proud Boys post promoting this weekend’s “Million MAGA March”:

There were other concerning follows on @DrakeWuertzFLA’s account, as well, like Dr. Simone Gold.

As best as I can tell, Dr. Simone Gold is a hydroxychloroquine truther who recently self-published a book about fighting “medical cancel culture.” The medical misinformation spread by her is such that two different hospitals she used to work at went as far as issuing press releases for the sole purpose of disowning her. Next!

This one was something of a surprise: You have to be pretty hardcore to be an American who even knows who Stephen “Tommy Robinson” Yaxley-Lennon is. Either you listen to a bunch of podcasts that cover extremism or you share views with the noted anti-Islam activist, who was previously a member of the British National Party (BNP), England’s fascist political party before founding his “English Defense League.” And to be completely clear, @DrakeWuertzFLA isn’t just following Robinson to keep track of the guy; he’s sharing Robinson’s posts, as well (an “echo” on Parler is like a “retweet” on Twitter):

@DrakeWuertzFLA’s first “echo” of Tommy Robinson, sharing a September 19, 2020 post about a video of an anti-mask rally in London. (Image: Parler screenshot)
@DrakeWuertzFLA’s first “echo” of Tommy Robinson, sharing a September 19, 2020 post about a video of an anti-mask rally in London. (Image: Parler screenshot)
@DrakeWuertzFLA’s second “echo” of Tommy Robinson, sharing an October 12, 2020 post about a video of the line to get into a Donald Trump campaign rally in Sanford, Florida. (Image: Parler screenshot)
@DrakeWuertzFLA’s second “echo” of Tommy Robinson, sharing an October 12, 2020 post about a video of the line to get into a Donald Trump campaign rally in Sanford, Florida. (Image: Parler screenshot)

As of the writing of this section of this article (early Saturday evening eastern time), Robinson has been posting anti-Muslim attacks on Parler as recently as 10 hours ago:

With @DrakeWuertzFLA’s more notable/infamous follows out of the way, it’s time to look at the account’s actual activity on Parler. What jumped out at me first was that, on Parler, which requires an account to view the vast majority of the content and isn’t exactly the most popular social media app in the world, @DrakeWuertzFLA is open about being a QAnon believer.

@DrakeWuertzFLA “echoes” (retweets/reblogs, more or less) QAnon John’s Parler post about the discovery of a tunnel at the U.S./Mexico border. (Image: Parler screenshot.)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “echoes” (retweets/reblogs, more or less) QAnon John’s Parler post about the discovery of a tunnel at the U.S./Mexico border. (Image: Parler screenshot.)

On August 8, 2020, @DrakeWuertzFLA “echoed” (Parler’s version of retweeting or reblogging someone else’s post) a note from “QAnon John,” who wrote that “All the tunnels are being EXPOSED!” while linking to a One America News network story about a tunnel that was found at the U.S./Mexico border. Curiously, the article, though archived elsewhere, has been deleted by OANN, possibly because it was a vague aggregation of a story from KYMA-TV in Yuma, Arizona about drug smuggling tunnels. The vagueness appears to have been a cause in what piqued QAnon John’s interest, as there is a QAnon-connected conspiracy theory about severely abused “mole children” being found in secret tunnels. Sharing this post appears to paint a clearer picture of where @DrakeWuertzFLA stands on QAnon, as does the account “voting” (“liking” in Twitter and Facebook parlance) these QAnon-related posts:

@DrakeWuertzFLA “votes” a Parler post from Brittany Walker displaying a (backwards) QAnon flag, which also includes the hashtags “#qanon” and “#wweg1wga,” the latter standing for QAnon catchphrase “Where We Go One, We Go All.” (Image: Parler screenshot.)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “votes” a Parler post from Brittany Walker displaying a (backwards) QAnon flag, which also includes the hashtags “#qanon” and “#wweg1wga,” the latter standing for QAnon catchphrase “Where We Go One, We Go All.” (Image: Parler screenshot.)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “votes” a Parler post from “QAnon Babe” that boosts the baselss conspiracy theory that alleges Hillary Clinton trafficked children in Haiti. (Image: Parler screenshot.)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “votes” a Parler post from “QAnon Babe” that boosts the baselss conspiracy theory that alleges Hillary Clinton trafficked children in Haiti. (Image: Parler screenshot.)

The first post, with the QAnon flag, should be pretty self-explanatory. The second deals with a baseless conspiracy theory alleging that Hillary Clinton used The Clinton Foundation to traffic children in Haiti, a favorite in QAnon circles. Wuertz also “voted” a post from “Conservative Lover” that shared a screenshot of a tweet from Wayne Allen Root pushing a baseless story about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, being caught on video abusing Chinese children:

In addition, while rooted in something factual—that Bill Clinton flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet, creepily dubbed “The Lolita Express,” on multiple occasions—@DrakeWuertzFLA also “voted” two memes calling him a child molester, which is a popular topic in QAnon circles:

@DrakeWuertzFLA also voted a thread from “Texas Patriot” and “Military Minnie” about “Democrat child traffickers,” further showing a commitment to more overt QAnon affiliation than the posts seen on the Drake Wuertz Instagram account:

@DrakeWuertzFLA also “voted” a post from Brittany Walker, the woman in the photo with the QAnon flag embedded earlier in this article, lamenting a suspension from Facebook, which recently cracked down on QAnon content:

If the account’s “Q-pilled”ness wasn’t already obvious, @DrakeWuertzFLA also “voted” posts about “left[ist]” and “lib[eral]” child molesters and child traffickers, one of which was from the “@WuertzFamily” account:

@DrakeWuertzFLA “voting” a Parler post from a relative of his that falls in line with QAnon-related conspiracy thepries about “leftist pedophiles.” (Image: Parler screenshot.)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “voting” a Parler post from a relative of his that falls in line with QAnon-related conspiracy thepries about “leftist pedophiles.” (Image: Parler screenshot.)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “votes” a Parler post attempting to connect baseless election fraud conspiracy theories with baseless “liberal pedophile” conspiracy theories. (Image: Parler screenshot.)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “votes” a Parler post attempting to connect baseless election fraud conspiracy theories with baseless “liberal pedophile” conspiracy theories. (Image: Parler screenshot.)

There’s also one new twist that had not been on my radar before: @DrakeWuertzFLA, on Friday, “Echoed”/shared a post from Roger Stone which baselessly claimed that Joe Biden has promised a presidential pardon to convicted sex trafficker and child molester Keith Raniere, the leader of the “NXIVM” (pronounced “nexium,” like the antacid medication):

@DrakeWuertzFLA “echoes”/shares a Roger Stone post spouting a baseless conspiracy theory claiming that Joe Biden has promised “NEXIUM [sic] Sex cult Guru Keith Ranieri [sic]” a presidential pardon. (Image: Parler screenshot.)
@DrakeWuertzFLA “echoes”/shares a Roger Stone post spouting a baseless conspiracy theory claiming that Joe Biden has promised “NEXIUM [sic] Sex cult Guru Keith Ranieri [sic]” a presidential pardon. (Image: Parler screenshot.)

It’s not all weird human trafficking conspiracies, though. One of @DrakeWuertzFLA’s “votes” gives a thumbs up to a post from “WinstonCovfefe” that, in arguing against voting for Joe Biden in the U.S. Presidential race, listed various groups who “want Biden.” In a list that also included “China,” “Iran,” “Abortionists,” “Felons,” and “Illegals,” what kicked it off? “Muslims want Biden.”

In a company that, at least publicly, is trying to improve its handling of LGBTQ+ talent while battling a rival promotion with wrestlers who openly live outside of a strict binary for gender and/or sexual orientation, an account purporting to be that of a Talent Relations staffer “voted” this Candace Owens post about “drag queen story time” that suggested such events were an “abomination”:

There’s more, but this is getting long and messing with some email length limits, so I’ll stop here for now. I’ve emailed WWE spokespeople to ask for comment on the activity of the @DrakeWuertzFLA Parler account and if the views shown therein have caused problems for Drake Wuertz at work, but they have not responded as of this writing.


Enjoy? Want to support this work and get exclusive content, like source materials and notes from the Babyface v. Heel podcast that finally debuts in the next week or so? Then please subscribe for just $5/month or $50/year. Even if you’re not able to pay right now, please at least consider signing up for the free version, which will deliver all of the free posts directly to your email inbox, as well free preview excerpts of the paid subscriber-exclusive articles.