World Wrestling Entertainment, the wrestling empire formally run by U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, has threatened the Journal Inquirer with a libel lawsuit over a column that also ran on DarienTimes.com on Tuesday, May 22.
WWE also sent a letter to the Darien Times on Monday, May 21, taking issue with a May 17 editorial about the Republican contest for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate nomination.
The WWE did not like the same word that appeared in both writings: “pornography.”
Journal Inquirer Managing Editor Chris Powell, whose column is syndicated across the state, refered to McMahon’s wealth “derived from the business of violence, pornography, and general raunch.”
Brian Flinn, the WWE senior vice president of marketing and communications, wrote the JI, which is a daily newspaper in Manchester, demanding a retraction by June 4:
“This is now at least the second time you have made false statements that damage our corporate reputation, and the second time you have stated that WWE is involved in pornography,” Flinn wrote to Powell, as was reported by his newspaper on Friday, May 25. “WWE programming, like Hollywood movies and Broadway shows, is an exciting blend of action, characters, and fictional storylines of good versus evil entertaining millions every week.”
As the May 25 article pointed out, Powell’s column did not mention the Stamford-based WWE. “But answering Flinn by email the editor asked if WWE wanted the letter published in the newspaper and if lawsuit depositions — preparatory interrogations of witnesses — could be undertaken before the Republican Senate primary Aug. 14, adding that he was eager to meet ‘Trish,’ the shapely actress featured in an infamous WWE program in which McMahon’s husband, Vince, instructs her to undress down to her bra and panties, kneel in the wrestling ring, and bark like a dog in front of an audience of thousands. She complies.”
While the WWE did not threaten the Darien Times with a lawsuit, a letter also from Flinn, accused The Times of distorting the truth by calling WWE “a product that is barely above pornography” in an editorial written by editor Joshua Fisher.
The editorial, which only makes a passing reference of WWE, was about how Chris Shays, McMahon’s biggest challenger in the race for the Republican nomination, has a better chance of winning the general election against Democrat Chris Murphy.
The Darien Times published the WWE letter in full on DarienTimes.com and it was the lead letter to the editor on the Opinion page last week.
Since McMahon started seeking public office, more than three years ago, WWE has become less raunchy — much to the distain of some fans — and is rated TV-PG for basic cable productions.
Hartford Courant columnist Rick Green, on Monday, made a blog post, “What is Porn? You Decide,” noting that WWE still has a past. Part of that past includes this YouTube clip, which you must confirm you are at least 18 years old to view online, of Vince McMahon, Linda’s husband, forcing a woman to strip her clothes, get down on all fours and bark like a dog.