Wrestling legend Ric Flair responded to the latest episode of Vice's Dark Side of the Ring documentary series, which covered the infamous "Plane Ride from Hell" in 2002. The documentary included an interview with flight attendant Heidi Doyle, who claimed Flair forced her to touch his penis in the galley of the plane. Flair denied the allegations.
The "Plane Ride from Hell" was a flight from Europe back to the U.S. after WWE wrestlers fought in London. A group of intoxicated wrestlers fought each other on the plane and allegedly harassed flight attendants. At one point, Flair walked the plane aisle only wearing his wrestling robe and swirled his penis as a joke for the other wrestlers. In Dark Side of the Ring, Doyle claimed Flair went to the back galley of the plane for a drink and forced her to touch his penis. Rob Van Dam corroborated Doyle's allegations, while Tommy Dreamer defended Flair. Impact Wrestling indefinitely suspended Dreamer after the episode aired, while CarShield withdrew its commercial starring Flair.
Flair spoke out about the allegations in a long statement he shared on Twitter Monday. He claimed his lawyer, publicist and his family thought he should not respond to the allegations, but he decided to speak out to "clarify" a few things. "About four years ago, I gave ESPN full access to my life for a 30 for 30 special. They covered taxes, financial issues, adultery, divorces, the passing of my child and drinking/partying AT LENGTH," Flair wrote. "Rory Kampf, desperate to matter for another 15 minutes, did an interview about it this morning. When Rory's lips are moving, he's typically lying, but one part of what he said was the God's honest truth."
Flair then included a comment Kampf recently made. "'I'd never heard that he had forced someone to touch his genitals," Kampf said. "Everything with Ric that was construed as negative I tried to address in the 30 for 30. His drinking, his philandering, his adultery, his money problems, there's quite a bit, but never, at least in the people that I spoke to, no one ever brought up that he would force himself on somebody."
"I allowed my personal life and the lives of my wife and children to be turned upside down for one reason: Whether it's good or bad, even the really bad, the truth has to matter. Even in wrestling," Flair continued. "My issues have been well documented over my 40+ year career. The impact of drinking too much (which nearly killed me 5 years ago) has been told time and time and time again. The reason Rory (or anyone else for that matter) never heard stories of me forcing myself on ANYONE is simple: it never happened."
In 2004, the WWE and several wrestlers settled a lawsuit with Doyle and another flight attendant who claimed she was harassed during the "Plane Ride from Hell" incident. "It was wrong, and he goes to sleep that night and thinks he made it back from his wrestling trip in Europe, and maybe he has a headache because he had too many cocktails on the airplane," Doyle said in the Vice documentary. "And yet, that night I didn't go to sleep." The full Dark Side of the Ring episode on the 2002 incident is available to stream on YouTube.