AS I SEE IT - 11/13/2001:
More on Bret Hart... unedited

by: Bob Magee

As I said just last week...

"It never seems to end... Wrestling's own Shakespearean tragedy... filled with death, betrayal, and family conflict... the Hart family." Bret Hart himself said some time back:

"How much energy does it take to hold a grudge and what does it get you? Sticking up for your ideals is one thing, but not when it reaches a point where being right becomes more important than being happy."

But even during the week that Helen Hart was buried...with the time, date, and place kept secret from much of the wrestling media; the inter-family war within the Harts continued,

From Bret Hart's Sunday Calgary Sun column:

..."I feel the need to share with you now some things I've had to keep to myself for the past two-and-a-half years since Owen died. There have been a lot of hurtful comments about me and my family in the media, many of them made by two of my sisters, Diana and Ellie. More often than not, I restrained myself from responding because I didn't want to cause any more grief for my already-beleaguered parents. My mother can no longer be hurt by my rebuttals and my father's mind is elsewhere. So, now I have a few things to say..."

This Hart column included claims that:

During last May WWF show in Calgary when members of the Hart family attended Ellie, Diana, and Bruce saying they had no "acrimony toward the McMahons", he claims that Stu Hart told him "he had absolutely no interest in attending". This, despite public statements otherwise by Stu himself and other family members.

He had nothing to do with Martha Hart's decision to sue Vince McMahon after brother Owen's death.

His sister's recent book is (quoting a columnist from the syndicate that just happens to publish his column) "a gossip and scandal book -- and a legal minefield"

Claims it disturbed him so much that "I cannot tell you how it pained me to look into my dying mother's eyes and pray she wouldn't live long enough to read that book."

Just after he wrote that column, Bret then went on (by telephone) a Calgary area radio show where Diana Hart was doing a promotional appearance for her book. Hart implied Bret that Stu Hart was not in the right frame of mind when he wrote the foreword for the book, and repeated the statement if their mom had read the book that it would have killed her.

Then the unedited version of the Bret Hart letter to his fan club (the basis for the Calgary Sun column) came out, with some of the juicier parts having been edited out both by those online initially publishing it, and the Calgary Sun's editors.

Here are a few of them:

"...If my timing seems odd, writing down this statement at a time when my mother is about to be laid to rest, it is because Diana showed very callous and poor judgment in releasing a book that muddies the reputation of my mother at a time when she lay on her death bed."

Bret's timing IS odd. His mother's body is barely cold and he's using her death to score debating points.

"....Last May, when the WWF came to town Ellie and Diana, joined by my brother, Bruce, led a contingency down to the show, which was being broadcast live around the world. They announced in the local press, leading up to and after the show, that this was a reunion of the Harts and the McMahons and that our family has no differences with Vince McMahon.

Just as it would not be right for me to speak on behalf of my entire family without their prior consent, I do not believe that it was right for Ellie, Diana and Bruce to do so either....It was not a so called family reunion but an attempt by Ellie, Bruce and Diana to secure future employment with the WWF for various members of our family by voluntarily helping McMahon with damage control..."

Funny...but it seems that he's doing that very thing...attempting to act as the Hart family spokesperson.

Then, as follow up for Bret's claims that Stu wanted no part of the "Hart family reunion":

"...Fifteen hours after they’d hustled Stu out of his house he was still backstage at the show when a well known WWF wrestler called me to express his concern that Stu was so exhausted and debilitated at the end of the very long day of exploitation that some of his kids had subjected him to that when he overheard them talking about their plans to bring Stu to the WWF show in Edmonton the next day for more of the same he was concerned for Stu’s welfare and in fact his very life. They didn’t get jobs that day either." Bret thinks his family is trying to kill his father Stu. It would be interesting to get the name of that "WWF wrestler".

And of course... there's yet one more time, a reference to Montreal:

"...Ellie and Diana have referred to my so called obsession with how Vince screwed me in Montreal, saying that I can’t let it go and get on with my life -- and that Vince didn’t do anything wrong that day anyway, it’s just that I’m an egomaniac. Frankly, how would they know? Vince eventually admitted on national TV that what I’ve said all along is true; that he lied to me and conspired against me in Montreal. As devastating as Montreal was for me, how could anyone ever think that it could even compare to when the WWF dropped Owen from the ceiling!

When they, not I, kept bringing up my past differences with Vince it served to divert attention from the real issue of the WWF’s accountability. It also painted me as a self centered jerk who was more devastated by how I got screwed at a WWF PPV then how my youngest brother got killed at one!..."

If you'd like to read this original letter, unedited, it's been posted here.

After reading it, no wonder the Calgary Sun edited it.

I realize there are many of you who view Bret Hart with high regard. I wish I still could.

There are many of you who feel sorry for all the hell he's gone through personally.

So do I.

But I also wonder how much of his personal problems he's brought upon himself; including worsening the divisions within his family time and time again, his past well-publicized marital problems, and his many professional disappointments in recent years.

Whatever elements of what Bret's been saying that are true, many people view them as being colored by his continued bitterness, and don't give them the credibility they may deserve. As long as he reacts as he did in his letter to his fan club, only the truest believers will buy what he says... and far too many people will not.

Take a moment and appreciate the real-life heroes and victims of September 11, and to give them your help in the following ways:

Dusty Rhodes is making available various pieces of memorabilia from his career, with a portion of the proceeds going to the American Red Cross/September 11 efforts.

The memorabilia can be bid upon at the URLs below:

A 1976 NWA Wrestler of the Year Trophy at this URL.

A signed 1981 Dusty Rhodes Tour jacket at this URL.

A signed match-worn WWF tights at this URL.

A signed 1975 NWA match-worn cowboy vest at this URL.

A joint benefit show of New England independent promotions, with talent from NWA-New England, Chaotic Wrestling, Yankee Pro Wrestling, Southcoast Wrestling, Primal Conflict Wrestling will be held on November 18 at the Elks Hall in Billerica, MA with a 4:00 pm belltime.

100% of the proceeds are to go to the American Red Cross. For information on this show, you can go to their official site here.

Combat Zone Wrestling has designed a special t-shirt, with proceeds going to September 11th relief efforts. You can purchase this t-shirt at CZW events, call (856) 848-5070, or contact CZW at

For those who prefer to donate directly to charitable organizations:

You can go to any one of the many organizations listed at

You can donate directly to the September 11th Fund, administered by the New York United Way via this URL.

You can donate to the New York City Police Foundation Heroes Fund, the officially recognized charitable organization of the NYPD via this URL.

You can donate to the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund, administered by the International Association of Fire Fighters via this URL.

Until next time...


(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at