US government tried to deport WWE legend Pat Patterson for being gay

The Hall of Famer died in December 2020 (Picture: WWE)

The US government’s Immigration and Naturalization Service tried to get Pat Patterson deported throughout the 1960s.

New documents unearthed this week reveal the now-defunct branch of the Justice Department were investigating the late WWE Hall of Famer – who came out publicly as gay in 2014 and was open about his sexuality among friends since the 1970s – for years as they sought evidence of ‘homosexual activity’ to allow them to send him back to Canada.

An in-depth report by David Bixenspan for Mel Magazine, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal the investigation took place towards the end of the Lavender Scare.

While it’s not completely clear what sparked the investigation, a summary of witness interviews from April 14, 1965 reference Patterson’s wrestling name at the time regarding Portland Police Department’s morals squad looking into the local gay community.

The document reads: ‘The reports relate to an investigation conducted by Portland Police Department morals officers at homosexual parties in Portland.

‘These reports mention a wrestler named “PRETTY BOY JACKSON.” Also included in the reports were the names of persons who were considered victims, witnesses or defendants.

‘Two of the defendants named in the reports: [redacted] and [redacted] are presently serving sentences at Oregon State Penitentiary for conviction on charges of sodomy.

‘Several other persons, known homosexuals, were also mentioned in the police reports.’

The document also details interviews with various ‘Portland area homosexuals’ about Patterson, who died aged 66 in December 2020.

One witness who attended ‘gay parties’ in the area told police that the wrestler ‘acted gay, the same as the rest of the people at the parties’ and ‘was known at the parties as “MISS PATTERSON.” ‘

The first ever Intercontinental Champion was interviewed by the INS in San Francisco in May, 1965, but the case the went quiet until November the following year when the INS initiated deportation proceedings based on the star allegedly giving them a fraudulent work itinerary, while he admitted he wasn’t going to return to Canada given his rising income and status in the wrestling world.

It should be noted that an H1 visa doesn’t require the submission of a set schedule.

The memo added: ‘He was asked point-blank if he was a homosexual and denied it. He was also asked if he molested little boys and denied that.

‘He volunteered the information that because he was a “good” wrestler, other people were jealous and were trying to get him into trouble. As I had no evidence with which to confront him, I let the matter drop there.’

The INS also looked into Patterson’s relationship with an unnamed Air Force serviceman, which he denied.

The organisation gave Patterson a deportation notice and insisted he tell them of his plans by January 5, 1967, and then leave on or more January 10, with the INS also requesting a phycological examination of the wrestler towards the end of 1966.

In his piece, Bixenspan notes the INS appeared to be trying to ‘trick Patterson into leaving the country’ to try and secure a green card, and then use the exam to rule him unfit to re-enter.

In the letter, the INS described him as ‘a well known homosexual’, and wrote: ‘Therefore, would it be possible for you, through the Embassy in Ottawa, to circulate the American Consuls in Canada so that when the subject applies for a visa they would demand a psychiatric examination for him.’

This is where the INS file stops regarding any attempt to deport the wrestler, although the file does detail his 1971 green card application, and his successful petition for US citizenship in 2002.

Pat’s close friend Gerald Brisco was interviewed for the piece, and he admitted while he never knew about the investigation, learning this information made him rethink certain moments in the past.

He said: ‘I remember Pat telling me about not wanting to do something crazy, telling me, “Man, I can’t get in trouble. I’m being watched.” I’d always say, “What do you mean watched?” He’d just say, “By people. I know I’m being watched.” ‘

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