Back in 1991, Bill Watts did an interview with the PWTorch and made some interesting statements:
"If you want a business and you put money in, why shouldn't you be able to discriminate? It's your business.
If free enterprise is going to make or break it, you should be able to discriminate? It should be that, by God, if you're going to open your doors in America, you can discriminate. Why the fuck not?
That's why I went into business, so that I could discriminate. I mean, really. I mean I want to be able to serve who I want to. It's my business. It's my investment ... I can't tell a fag to get the fuck out. I should have the right to not associate with a fag if I don't want to. I mean, why should I have to hire a fuckin' fag, if I don't like fags? Fags discriminate against us, don't they? Sure they do ... Do blacks discriminate against whites?
Who's killed more blacks than anyone? The fuckin' blacks. But they want to blame that bullshit Roots that came on the air. That Roots was so bullshit. All you have to do if you want slaves is to hand beads to the chiefs and they gave you slaves. What is the best thing that has ever happened to the black race? That they were brought to this country. No matter how they got here. You know why? Because they intermarried and got educated. They're the ones running the black race.
You go down to the black countries and they're all broke. Idi Amin killed more blacks than we ever killed. You see what I mean. That's how stupid we are. But we get all caught up in this bullshit rhetoric, And so, it's ridiculous what's happening to our country.
Lester Maddox was right. If I don't want to sell fried chicken to blacks I shouldn't have to. It's my restaurant. Hell, at least I respect him for his stand."
(Lester Maddox was a restaurant owner in the 1960s who only served whites. When told that he was legally required to desegregate his restaurant, he closed it instead.)
This interview made a little news at the time but for the most part, it kind of flew under the radar and, in 1992, Watts was hired to run WCW (replacing Kip Frey).
Fast forward a few months and things are going along fine, if underwhelming. Then Mark Madden (who later became a commentator for WCW) took a copy of the 1991 Bill Watts interview and faxed it to Hank Aaron, who was an executive for the Atlanta Braves in the Turner organization. Hank Aaron would call the comments "horrible" and "despicable" and reportedly pushed to have Watts fired.
Watts disputes this and says he actually quit the company at this time due to issues with Turner president Bill Shaw. Whether that's true or not, who knows, but it would be oddly coincidental timing.
NOTE: In all fairness, it should be noted that Bill Watts is the one who made Ron Simmons the WCW world champion. Watts also had a reputation in the past for pushing guys like Junkyard Dog and Ernie Ladd as top babyfaces. Not that these are excuses for the things he said by any means, but I'm just trying to give a balanced version of the story.
His first meeting:
Heyman says his first true encounter with brutal anti-Semitism was an encounter with legendary booker "Cowboy" Bill Watts.
"I'd never met Watts before," Heyman recalled with a terse lip. "The first time I met him was when he became the head of WCW. We weren't two minutes into our conversation when he asked me where my beanie was [referring in an offensive way to a yarmulke]. He then started comparing me to a manager back in the day called Izzy Slapowitz."
Heyman half-laughed, "I could see we were really going to get along just great!"
Bill Watts being extremely sexist and racist:
"After a televised wrestling show, the ratings came in, and Watts was livid," Heyman remembered. "This was during the storyline with Madusa [Miceli]. Our segment was the highest rated segment of that program ... and Watts says -- in front of a room full of people -- how pissed off it makes him that a Jew and a c--t drew the highest rating of the show. He felt it was the downfall of the wrestling business."