McMahon and WWE profiting from porn

WWE, the entertainment colossus created by Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, has produced plenty of violent and sexually suggestive material over the years that I and others would consider pornographic.

There. I said it. Go ahead and sue me.

I know. It's crazy to think the company might have grounds at all to sue a newspaper over an opinion like that.

But that's exactly what WWE threatened to do this month, writing to Chris Powell, managing editor of the Journal Inquirer of Manchester, saying that if he did not retract a statement that Linda McMahon's wealth came from the business of "violence, pornography and general raunch," the company would seek "legal and all available remedies."

Really?

Of course, Powell, not the least bit intimidated, soldiered on happily with another column detailing all the old episodes of WWE, back when candidate McMahon was still at the helm, that most certainly count as raunch or porn.

One excellent example cited by Powell is the scene in which McMahon's husband, microphone in hand, makes a young woman strip down to her bra and panties, likens her to his dog, using the "b" word, then tells her to get down on all fours and bark.

Like his dog, McMahon says, she is supposed to do everything he tells her to.

I watched a clip of the scene on my office computer, and everyone around me winced. It is hideous.

Powell cites lots of other scenes like that one, some much worse, like one in which a wrestler undresses and climbs on top of a woman in a casket, and asks rhetorically, "If this stuff is not pornography, what is it exactly?"

Not surprising, considering the McMahons have a big, fast boat called Sexy Bitch.

The warning to Powell seems to fit a new pattern in which WWE has gone on the offensive against the media in the midst of Linda McMahon's latest Senate campaign.

Brian Flinn, senior vice president of WWE, also wrote a letter to The Darien News complaining about a column in the newspaper that said WWE programming is "barely above pornography." He stopped short of threatening the newspaper.

Considering that WWE is a public company, one that candidate McMahon no longer heads, I think these letters to the media present a troubling development. Shareholders should worry that senior management of the company is too focused on the Connecticut Senate race.

McMahon, on the road last week, said the first she learned of the threatening letter sent to the Journal Inquirer was when she saw a story about it in her press briefing.

Sure. And wrestlers don't wear tights.

Curiously, though, I don't think the company's new media strategy is doing candidate McMahon much good.

For instance, I had almost forgotten about the McMahon bark-like-a-dog video, which was front and center for the last Senate race, until Powell was made to trot it out again.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

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