New Japan Pro-Wrestling, or NJPW, has released the following statement asking fans not to approach their talent outside of designated fan meeting events.
Regarding contact with wrestlers outside events
Thank you for supporting New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
On principle, we ask fans to refrain from contact with NJPW wrestlers outside of officially designated fan meeting events. This includes waiting for wrestlers on entrance and exits from venues.
Please bear in mind that around venues and hotels where wrestlers are staying, waiting for wrestlers and pressuring for autographs and pictures puts a strain on personal time as well as disrupts regular business for other guests and staff.
Please understand that in future actions deemed to be overtly aggressive or be construed as stalking will be discussed with local law enforcement and dealt with appropriately.
We kindly ask fans to refrain from the following:
Waiting at Dojos, venues, hotels and places of transit (airports etc) for wrestlers as well as photography and video taken without consent.
Approaching wrestlers and requesting photographs and autographs outside of designated meet and greet events.
Directly bringing gifts and fan mail to wrestlers.
Gathering in large numbers around venues for wrestlers.
NJPW and its wrestlers deeply appreciate the support of our great fans and ask for your cooperation in respecting personal space as well as local residents and institutions.
Aggressive fans approaching pro wrestlers for autographs at airports or elsewhere has become a major problem for performers over the past many years. Routinely, pro wrestlers have taken to social media in recent years bemoaning fans who wait for them at the airport with stacks of photos expecting their signature. Many of these “fans” are less interested in the talent or the promotion they work for and more concerned with creating new inventory for their eBay stores.
It is interesting that NJPW has taken the step to dissuade fans from approaching their performers, and we shall see if North American promotions follow suit.