Massive Leak Sheds Light On WWE’s Troubled Past
Almost 100 vetting documents have been leaked to political news organization Axios on HBO.
The documents outlined ‘red flags’ the President Trump administration uncovered as part of putting together his cabinet of top level U.S government officials.
Two notable documents obtained were Ariel “Ari” Zev Emanuel, Co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor who has a longstanding partnership with WWE, and Former Administrator of Small Business Administration Linda McMahon, wife of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
The 21-page document details the majority of WWE scandals, including steroid use, alleged sexual abuse, homophobia in WWE, racism, and taxpayer subsidies for WWE.
None of the information contained in the document is secret, mainstream media has began to run stories on leaks, which could shed light on skeletons in WWE’s closet.
Below are key excerpts from the document, with citations to the source of information, all which is available publicly.
Taxpayer Subsidies For WWE
McMahon’s Campaign Advertising For Her 2010 Race Claimed She Built Her Business “Without The Help Of Government” And Has Attacked “Government Bailouts.” “The economic incentives awarded to WWE could prove politically touchy to McMahon, who in her campaign rhetoric has taken an especially hard line against government ‘bailouts.’ She also has made much of her experience in building a business ‘without the help of big government.’ Similarly, McMahon in her first televised political commercial trumpeted her ‘hard work and perseverance,’ saying, ‘It wasn’t always easy, but we grew it into a publicly traded company that’s creating jobs here in Connecticut today.’“ (Don Michak, “McMahon s Company Got Millions In State Tax Credits Weeks Before She Entered Senate Race,” Manchester Journal Inquirer, 10/29/09)
McMahon’s WWE Has Faced Numerous Complaints Of Sexual Abuse
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.” (John Marxulli, “WWE It s Just Sour
McMahon Had A Role In Tipping A Steroid Doctor Off To A Federal Investigation And Removing Records
The McMahons Had A Top Aide Call A Doctor Being Investigated By Federal Authorities For Steroid Distribution From A Pay Phone So It Couldn’t Be Recorded And Tell Him To Remove All His Records Out Of His Office. “Thanks to a tip that had been received by the McMahons from a closely guarded source, [Dr. George] Zahorian now knew the feds were snooping around in his affairs. In fact, the McMahons had told one of their top aides to call him from a pay phone so they wouldn’t be recorded, and tell him to move all the records he kept on wrestlers out of his office fast.” (Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham, Sex, Lies, And Headlocks, 2002, p. 88)
Homophobia In WWE
A Wrestler Savagely Beat Another Wrestler Who Was Dressed In Drag In 2004; Shouting “He’s A F*ggot” 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 f*ggot’ 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.” (James Guttman, World Wrestling Insanity, 2006, p. 176)
Despite McMahon’s Pledge That Steroid Users Would Not Work For WWF, Numerous Wrestlers Have Admitted They Did And Others Have Been Implicated
As Far Back As 1993, Linda McMahon Pledged Steroid Users “Won’t Be Working For Us.” “Controversy swirled around the federation in the late ‘80s when a Pennsylvania doctor was convicted of selling steroids to wrestlers in the federation. Since then Titan Sports has instituted a drug policy that McMahon said was as rigorous as that of the Olympic Committee, whose wrestlers were tested every couple of weeks. The testing is observed, and if wrestlers are found to be using drugs, ‘they won’t be working for us,’ McMahon said. ‘We push physical fitness and conditioning and nutritional supplements. We say no to drugs.’ ‘Our wrestlers are goodwill ambassadors and role models to children,’ she said, noting that they have set up a ring on a street corner in Harlem where wrestlers talk with the young people who walk by.” (Jackie Fitzpatrick, “The Lady And The Champs,” The New York Times, 6/5/93)
In 2005, Following The Death Of Eddie Guerrero, WWE Mandated Random Drug Testing. “Following the death of one of pro wrestling’s biggest stars, World Wrestling Entertainment says it is starting random drug testing to detect illicit drugs, steroids and prescription drug abuse among its performers. Eddie Guerrero, 38, was found dead last month in a Minneapolis hotel shortly before a show. The medical examiner has yet to rule on the cause of death, but Guerrero’s widow has said she was told an autopsy showed signs of heart disease, which she blamed on his past alcohol and drug abuse. WWE said it will announce details on the testing in the coming weeks.” (“Pro Wrestlers Soon To Face Steroid Tests,” Chicago Tribune, 12/5/05)
McMahon Previously Said The Science On Concussions And Wrestling Is Inconclusive
The WWE Rejected Scientific Research From West Virginia University Done On Two Former Wrestlers Which Studied The Long Term Damage To The Brain From Repeated Concussions And Blows To The Head. “The deaths of [Chris] Benoit and [Andrew] Martin, who wrestled for World Wrestling Entertainment from 1998 to 2004 and 2006 to ‘07, were widely ascribed to the culture of professional wrestling, steroids use and personal problems, but the doctor who examined both of their brains said they are bound by a more fundamental trait. Dr. Julian Bailes, Omalu’s co-director at the Brain Institute and the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at West Virginia University School of Medicine, announced the Benoit findings at a news conference in September 2007 in New York. Bailes believes the Martin case is similarly significant. … ‘With Andrew Martin as the second case, the WWE and the sport in general have to ask themselves, ‘Is this a trend?’ The science tells us that jumping off 10-foot ladders and slamming people with tables and chairs is simply bad for the brain.’ In response, the WWE issued this statement: ‘While this is a new emerging science, the WWE is unaware of the veracity of any of these tests, be it for Chris Benoit or Andrew Martin. Dr. Omalu claims that Mr. Benoit had a brain that resembled an 85-year-old with Alzheimer’s, which would lead one to ponder how Mr. Benoit would have found his way to an airport, let alone been able to remember all the moves and information that is required to perform in the ring. ‘WWE has been asking to see the research and tests results in the case of Mr. Benoit for years and has not been supplied with them.’ According to Bailes, the Brain Institute has never received a request from the WWE to see the Benoit records. He invited the WWE to review the data at any time.” (Greg Garber, “Doctors Wrestler Had Brain Damage,” ESPN 12/9/09)
WWE Has Been Accused Of Leading To A High Death Toll Among Wrestlers
A 2004 USA Today Article Reported That 65 Wrestlers Had Died In The Previous Seven Years, Including 25 From Heart Attacks And Other Coronary Problems. “USA TODAY’s examination of medical documents, autopsies and police reports, along with interviews with family members and news accounts, shows that at least 65 wrestlers died in that time, 25 from heart attacks or other coronary problems — an extraordinarily high rate for people that young, medical officials say. Many had enlarged hearts. … ‘Because we are the most visible organization, we get the black eye,’ adds [Vince] McMahon, noting that only two of the 65 deceased wrestlers died while working for his company. ‘It is alarming whenever young people pass away from these insidious causes, but you can’t help someone if they don’t want to help themselves.’ … WWE, the largest wrestling organization in North America with 125 wrestlers, says it tests for recreational drugs if there is probable cause. If a wrestler refuses rehab, he is booted. It has cut weekly performances to three or four, down from about five in the mid- 1990s. And it has improved training techniques to minimize injuries.” (Jon Swartz, “Behind Fun Facade, Professional Wrestling Sees 65 Deaths In 7 Years,” USA Today, 3/12/04)
Vince McMahon Was Indicted For Conspiracy To Distribute Steroids
In 1993, Vince McMahon Was Indicted On Conspiracy To Distribute Steroids And Illegal Possession Of Steroids With Intent To Distribute. “The operator of the World Wrestling Federation was accused Thursday of conspiring to beef up his wrestlers with anabolic steroids, an allegation he quickly denied. A federal indictment in Brooklyn alleged that Vincent K. McMahon Jr. and his company, Titan Sports Inc., doing business as the WWF, conspired from 1985 to 1991 to distribute steroids to ‘wrestling performers to enhance their size and muscle development,’ U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter announced. In addition to conspiracy, carrying a five-year maximum penalty on conviction, McMahon was charged with illegal possession of steroids with intent to distribute, which is punishable by up to three years in prison. He also could be subject to fines of up to $500,000, Carter said.” (“Sports News,” The Associated Press, 11/18/93) • Two Charges Were Dismissed By The Judge. “A federal judge dismissed two of three counts Monday against World Wrestling Federation founder Vince McMahon, who was charged with distributing steroids to Hulk Hogan and others in his stable of wrestlers.” (“Two Charges Dismissed In WWF Steroids Case,” Charleston Daily Mail, 7/19/94)
The Jury Acquitted McMahon Of The Other Charge. “Promoter Vince McMahon, who built up the World Wrestling Federation with his stable of bulked-up entertainers, was acquitted Friday of conspiring to distribute steroids. … Two charges of steroid distribution against McMahon were dismissed by the judge during the trial. The federal jury deliberated 16 hours before reaching its verdict.” (Pat Milton, “Jury Finds WWF s McMahon Innocent,” The Associated Press, 7/22/94)
WWE Hires Wrestlers As “Independent Contractors” And Has Fired Wrestlers Who Wanted To Form Unions
Former Wrestler Charlie Haas Said The Company Would Fire Wrestlers Who Tried To Form A Union. “Once the office found out that people were trying to do unions, they’d get rid of those people who were trying to form it. The problem is that there’s no competition. I mean, are you gonna start a union for the only company that offers wrestling? You do that and they fire you, where else are you gonna go? I mean, the WWE pays you very well. They encourage you to think outside the WEE, invest your money and have other sources of income, you know? Most jobs you’d never gat that unless you’re playing professional football, baseball or hockey…but they do have unions in those other leagues. It would be great if they did have a union for a 401k or a pension plan for putting in your time.” (James Guttman, World Wrestling Insanity, 2006, p. 156) Jesse Ventura’s Book Claims He Departed The WWF After He Attempted To Unionize The Wrestlers. “Ventura writes that he departed the WWF after an unsuccessful attempt to unionize the company’s performers before Wrestlemania II (Ventura claims the show was held in spring 1987, but it actually occurred the previous year).” (Alex Marvez, “Ventura Tells All In Autobiography,” Rocky Mountain News, 5/21/99)
The full 21-page document is available to view below. A representative for McMahon declined comment on the document according to Axios On HBO.
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