The following letter from World Wrestling Entertainment is in response to a July 12 Darien Times editorial about Linda McMahon, its former CEO, who is running for U.S. Senate.
Dear Mr. Fisher:
It is regrettable that we find it necessary to once again point out that you have made inaccurate statements and mischaracterizations in the Darien Times regarding WWE, this time in your editorial on July 12. Although this was an opinion piece, you are still required to report accurately and not distort the truth. This is now at least the second instance in which you have made misstatements that damage WWE’s corporate reputation.
Your assertion that WWE has made “fun of retarded men” is inaccurate, takes our content completely out of context and fails to factually portray a storyline. WWE featured a character — an actor playing a role — named Eugene, who was a person with intellectual disabilities. He was often faced with difficult challenges, situations and rivals, including some of the most villainous and dastardly WWE characters. What you failed to convey is that Eugene, like most of WWE’s “good guys,” overcame obstacles, prevailed and was a hero to our millions of fans.
Your statement that WWE was “demeaning women” is also inaccurate and again takes our content out of context and makes no mention of story-lines. WWE has produced a variety of powerful heroic female characters throughout the years that have come up against malicious villains, who are also actors playing a role. And yes, those “bad guys” do reprehensible things, but they eventually pay a price for their behavior. Our television audience would not be nearly 40% female if we were degrading women.
As it relates to the foregoing clarifications, it is important to note that WWE programming, like Hollywood movies and Broadway shows, is an exciting blend of action, characters and fictional shorelines of good versus evil that entertains millions every week. Without Darth Vader there is no Luke Skywalker. We too create protagonists and antagonists and tell stories of good versus evil.
You also wrote that WWE has been “encouraging steroid use,” which is a blatant misstatement of fact. WWE prohibits steroid use and conducts a minimum of four random drug tests per year for all talent and any performer that tests positive is suspended. WWE began testing for steroids in 2006, before many major sports leagues, and we currently have one of the most comprehensive talent wellness programs in all of sports and entertainment, managed by world renowned third party medical experts. Additionally, WWE has always encouraged its talent to live a healthy lifestyle as they are the company’s greatest asset. For more information about WWE’s talent wellness program, please visit corporate.wwe.com.
In your editorial, you also state that WWE “influenced the future bullies of American schools.” The fact is that WWE promotes anti-bullying and has created a global initiative called Be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) designed to teach children how to deal with conflict in the real world. We recognize the power and influence of our brand and spend a considerable amount of time and resources to make sure children understand the difference between what they see on television, where storylines and conflicts are resolved in the ring, versus how to deal with challenges in everyday life.
WWE expects you will print this letter in as public a manner as that in which you made the foregoing false statements. In the future, we request that you contact us for factual information about our company before attempting to characterize our programming as you continue to do so erroneously.
WWE Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications