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Controversial Details From WWE’s Past Resurface In Linda McMahon’s Trump Administration Vetting Documents

June 24, 2019 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Linda McMahon

Axios released a vetting document for Linda McMahon at the time she was being considered for the head of the Small Business Administration for President Donald Trump, which brings up some of WWE’s controversial past. Given the hits WWE has taken recently for the decision to continue holding shows in Saudi Arabia and over the segment that John Oliver aired about them on Last Week Tonight, this is likely another headache they don’t want. This was one of nearly 100 internal Trump transition vetting documents leaked to Axios which raised potential “red flags” about people who ended up landing jobs within the Administration. It should also be noted that UFC owner Endeavor co-CEO Ariel Emanuel was also vetted for a job.

Fightful reports that the McMahon documents have several red flags right at the beginning, several of which are related to WWE and her time there as CEO. Examples of some of the red flags listed include those that are there just for political bias (donating to Democrats, calling Trump’s comments about women ‘deplorable’), while others are more questionable.

For McMahon personally, they include accusations of paying property taxes late, taking almost $3 million in taxpayer subsidies as WWE CEO even though she criticized government bailouts and discrediting studies that found concussions result in brain trauma.

For WWE, it includes several major scandals, including the Chris Benoit double murder and suicide, Vince McMahon being indicted in 1993 for steroids, Owen Hart’s death and the lawsuit that followed and WWE’s history of labeling their wrestlers as ‘independent contractors.’

There are also instances of people in WWE involved with homophobia and racism, like this headline:

A Wrestler Savagely Beat Another Wrestler Who Was Dressed In Drag In 2004; Shouting “He’s A Faggot”: “Then there was Tyson Tomko’s match against Steven Richards at Unforgiven 2004. Richards, dressed in drag, was savagely beaten on pay-per-view while Tomko screamed out ‘He’s a faggot’ as loud as can be. Tyson wanted to make that point clear just in case anyone doubted that they were actually witnessing a hate crime.”

Other instances include:

Criticism of WWE as Anti-Worker Background: McMahon is the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). WWE’s business model is to classify their primary employees (wrestlers) as “independent contractors.” Critics have suggested this is so WWE employees cannot form unions. Former WWE employees have claimed to have been fired for attempting to form a union. • Should you take a public position in the administration, do you believe your portrayal to American workers would be negative given the criticism the WWE has received? • How could your experience managing thousands of employees translate to balanced policies that benefit both business and the American worker?

During The 2002 Sexual Harassment Trial Of Former Wrestler Nicole Bass, Linda McMahon “Sat At The Defense Table Twirling Her Thumbs.” “Bodybuilder Nicole Bass pumped up a sexual harassment lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment because she couldn’t cut it in the ring, a WWE lawyer charged yesterday. Dressed demurely in a black jacket and below-the-knee skirt, Bass listened impassively as WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt trashed her as a no-talent. After taking a pounding from defense lawyers in Brooklyn Federal Court, Bass bolted from the courtroom with a terse, “No comment.” The 6-foot-2 and 230-pound Bass was hired by WWE to play the role of a bodyguard to Sable, a WWE superstar female wrestler, McDevitt told jurors in his opening statement. … According to her complaint, Bass alleges she was assaulted, sexually harassed, humiliated and demeaned during her five-month stint with the WWE. … During the opening statements, Linda McMahon, CEO of the WWE, formerly known as the World Wrestling Federation, sat at the defense table twirling her thumbs.”

Even Vince McMahon Admitted To Using Steroids. “World Wrestling Federation owner Vince McMahon admitted to having used steroids that he received from Dr. George T. Zahorian III, who was convicted last month of illegally selling the body-building drugs. “I used a steroid that I got from Dr. Zahorian very briefly about 3 or 4 years ago,” said McMahon, who is not a wrestler himself but does do some body building. He used the steroid only once, he said. McMahon made the admission at a news conference held yesterday to answer allegations that the WWF is rife with steroid use. At a federal trial in Harrisburg, Pa., Zahorian said he sold steroids to various wrestlers, including WWF champion Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper.” (“WWF Owner Admits Using Steroids,” The Globe And Mail, 7/17/91)

It goes on and on from there. Going back to sexual assault accusations against WWE, it also brings up other accusers like Sable, Tom Cole, Murray Hodgson and Barry Orton. WWE’s programming is mentioned, bringing up characters for stereotypes like Muhammad Hassan, Shawn Daivari, Eugene Dinsmore and The Godfather, as well as noting that people have criticized WWE for “crude” or “inappropriate” portrayals. This includes the homophobia from Goldust’s original run. In regards to Hassan and Daivari, a specific mention noted a time that Steve Austin called them “sand people”, as well as instances of WWE depicting them as terrorists, showing angry signs in the crowd, and the controversial angle that aired on WWE TV the day after the 2005 London Terrorist Bombings.

Steroid use noted that Linda McMahon said that in 1993 that steroid users wouldn’t work in WWE, then noted that Roddy Piper, Nailz, and Rick Rude all admitted to using the drug, while Chyna also admitted to drug use. It noted that WWE started doing drug tests after the death of Eddie Guerrero.

Finally, it revealed that the McMahon family filed for bankruptcy in 1976, but most of that was redacted.

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Linda McMahon, Joseph Lee