Election Day is getting pretty close. After Nov. 2 there is a decent chance that Linda McMahon could be the new Senator for the state of Connecticut. Throughout the course of her campaign, her opponents have been questioning her about the business she once ran: World Wrestling Entertainment.
With Linda in such a public light recently, a lot of questions have come up surrounding the company’s business practices. Investigations have been launched into issues like the string of deaths of young men and women who once worked for WWE, and also the company’s designation of its performers as “Independent Contractors.”
Linda’s opponents are claiming that the WWE, under her rule, was an unsafe place to work given the nature of Professional Wrestling. They claim that she and the company never did enough to properly care for those in their employ, hence why so many have died before the age of 45. Her detractors are also claiming that by labeling employees “Independent Contractors,” the WWE was able to, unethically, save millions of dollars by not providing benefits or insurance to the athletes on their payroll.
Throughout it all Linda has defended herself and WWE on her own, to the best of her abilities. Her campaign team has done everything they can to keep Linda the Candidate/Former Executive Mastermind in the spotlight, while shying away from her past as Linda the Wrasslin’ CEO. But that ol’ squared circle houses a bunch of skeletons in Linda’s political closet, and her opponents won’t let her forget it.
With Election Day just around the corner, her Democratic rivals have amped up their WWE-snooping to the Nth degree. Formal investigations are being launched and a lot of scrutiny is being tossed WWE’s way (again). So, being under attack like they are, Vince McMahon and WWE have launched a new initiative. It’s one that they are quick to point out has NOTHING to do with Linda’s campaign:
Listen, I am, always have been, and most likely always will be a loyal WWE fan, supporter, and apologist. But this whole effort screams desperation to me, and leaves me with an uneasy feeling about the company. In the past when WWE was under attack, they would either just put out a press release or maybe even write a joke about the criticism into the actual program. Now, though, they’re launching an entire social media campaign, asking fans to tell people why they love WWE. It just comes across as them being picked on, begging for help, then saying “see, if they like us we must not be so bad.”
The thing is though, this entire campaign, apart from the list of “Accusations/Truths” on the website, completely skirts around the issues in question.
WWE is asking fans to tell the world why they love the product. That’s in response to some detractors saying that WWE isn’t family-friendly. That’s not a major issue. That’s just a matter of taste. The real issue that WWE needs to address is the talent-related one, the one about young athletes dying and “Independent Contractors.” Facebook posts and Youtube videos from kids across the country aren’t going to focus on that. The fans that actually participate in this promotion are more than likely just going to say that they love watching the show and it’s a lot of fun. That’s not going to shut up anyone.
The same talent-related issues suggest that WWE provides an unsafe working environment. To combat this claim, WWE put out a video yesterday featuring scores of their employees talking about how much they love the company and what a great place it is to work. Some even met their spouses there! It’s a touching piece and really drives home the fact that WWE is a very safe place to work for a long, long time with full benefits…if you’re an ACCOUNTANT.
This is the part of the campaign that really gets under my skin. Nobody. NOBODY is claiming that WWE treats their “employees” poorly. I’m sure that the folks who drive to Titan Tower in Stamford, CT every morning love what they do. But nobody cares about those people. WWE’s entire history has been built on the backs of the men and women IN THE RING. Those are the people that are supposedly working in an “unsafe environment,” not Jill from Digital Sales. It’s a perfect example of WWE ignoring the real issue at hand, and I hate seeing them do it.
Vince has been all over this campaign. He’s showing up in videos online and on TV talking about the project and reading responses from the WWE Universe. But watching him do that gives me the sense that he’s just simply out of touch. He doesn’t understand what the real issues are and he’s not addressing them properly.
Like I said, I will always adore WWE. But I just can’t get behind “Stand Up.” It’s too cheap. Yes, even for WWE. I can’t wait until Election Day. That’s when we’ll find out the future of WWE. I wish Linda the best but as a WWE fan, I hope she loses. If she does then we’ll be free of this p.c., eggshell-walking version of the company we all love.