Writer Accuses WWE Of Making Fun Of The Mentally Challenged, Demeaning Women & Encouraging Steroid Use; WWE Reacts In New Letter

WWE’s war with the Darien Times has continued with a new editorial posted last week where writer Joshua Fisher has more strong criticism of Linda McMahon for her WWE past.

Mrs. McMahon loves to point out how she’s created jobs. But she does not like to answer questions about those jobs. While CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, she created jobs that included making fun of retarded men, demeaning women and possibly encouraging steroid use — this does not even touch on how it possibly has influenced the future bullies of American schools. But all of this is apparently forgotten because now WWE television shows are rated TV-PG and the company calls it “family entertainment.” We assume that you and your entire family can’t wait each week to pop some corn and gather ’round the flatscreen for another episode of “Monday Night Raw.” Fisher wrote here on DarienTimes.com

WWE responded with the following letter that was published on dot com on Monday:

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. (READ THE EDITORIAL) 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 the 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 storylines. WWE has produced a variety of powerful and 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 percent 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 storylines 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 www.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 (ShowToleranceAndRespect) 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 you contact us for factual information about our company before attempting to characterize our programming as you continue to do so erroneously.

Sincerely,

Brian Flinn

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications

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  • Josh

    Wow, WWE made themselves seem really bad here. I'm not sure about the "encouragement of steroid use," but WWE has certainly been demeaning to women and the mentally retarded in the past. They just look stupid trying to cover up.

    • paulw3000

      I disagree… In the context WWE used they made the writer look like a fool…

      • Immy

        I agree WWE came across very well in their response. The writer of the article just seemed to be looking for controversy and shock values, do writers do this about soap operas/other programmes which in certain aspects promote drug use and not just degrade women but show domestic abuse?

    • Whammaster

      Trying to cover up? maybe its just me being a semi mark for WWE but their rebuttal statement completely made the writer of Darien Times look like a complete toolbox. If anything he is happy that WWE is responding back to him because he is increasing his 15min of fame with each response.

    • Kevin

      Exactly HOW is the WWE trying to "cover up"? What that letter stated is absolutely true: they did have a mentally challenged character, played by a competent actor, and that character did in fact overcome several tough obstacles to show that being mentally challenged does not mean being mentally incapable. As for demeaning women, I don't see that either. They had pillow fights, lingerie matches, bikini contests, and the like, but they also produced some pretty tough women as champion (Beth Phoenix ring a bell?) and showed that women CAN perform in a man's world just as well as a man. As for demeaning people, look at what they've done to good ol' JR. He's a MAN, by the way, and yet they've beaten him, had him kiss McMahon's ass on live television, and publicly fired him and humilitated him time and time again. They had a "Kiss My Foot" match between Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler, where Lawler lost and had to kiss Bret's foot. So they don't single out women

  • nefty131

    I think it was a well constructed response, very professional, and certainly not a way to cover anything up. They were straightforward with the fact that it’s all storyline and “acting” as it should be seen.

  • Mikey d

    Well done wwe. Good reply

  • Ken

    Writer Accuses WWE Of Making Fun Of The Mentally Challenged === I know the logic behind Creative's storylines is somewhat dumbed down these days, and I know that sometimes Vince likes to make fun of us with the stunts he pulls, but I don't think it's fair to refer to the WWE Universe as mentally challenged.

    What… that's NOT what they mean?

    Oh…

    • Wainwright

      Touché.

  • fan

    Cover up??? Storylines!!!…

  • Ken

    Writer Accuses WWE Of Making Fun Of The Mentally Challenged === I know the logic behind Creative's storylines is somewhat dumbed down these days, and I know that sometimes Vince likes to make fun of us with the stunts he pulls, but I don't think it's fair to refer to the WWE Universe as mentally challenged.

  • Adamtrace

    Dunno josh, seems like a well thought out, planned and precise response to me… Examples of these instances of fact, where said women and mentally retarded didn’t “overcome” would bring me closer to agreeing with you.

  • Philg

    I think that was brilliant. Put them in their place.

  • James M>>>

    I miss Eugene. He was my favorite retarded man ever!

  • bauer

    I cant believe the responses above, the whole argument revolves around bullying and just because they bulleyed jr, as well as constantly making the divas look like sx objects (king, anybody?). I find myself sitting down to the tv constantly amazed at how wwe has even the gall to have the be a star campaign on and then have the big show sobbing for his job as his employer first bulleys him and then fires him.

    Remind me how big show finally got his? Oh, he didnt, he became an even bigger bulley. Selective memory much?

  • Dave L

    The WWE should not even respond to this bait, and thats clearly what this editorial is… They won. regardless of how WWE responds, WWE is coming off on the defense.. WWE does not and should not need to explain how many jobs they provided. For example, the WWE provides the host of this website with a job, the webmaster has a job because the host of this site pays them to host this webpage, there is such a trickle down effect all the way to the manufactures of the clothing that wwe sells at its shows, to the bands they employ, even to the sales people who sell those albums from WWE fans who hear the music at their shows.

  • Jessie Skys

    Pro-wrestling sucks!

  • “The Nightmare”

    WWE is a bad influence on society as a whole? (which is pretty much what I gathered by the columnist) Oh so I guess “The Jersey Shore” crew are SAINTS!?

    • Anand

      The CEO of Jersy Shore isnt contesting in the elections… The columnist is trying to get some cheap publicity by going after WWE. Shame on such new media…

  • RobUK

    Well said WWE. A professional and clear cut response. What’s really annoying me by reading some of the above points is the inability to distinguish WWE from fact or fiction. RAW is a television show. Yes it is different to most but it is a television show. With storylines and characters good and bad. These characters interact each week to Create entertainment (though not always good – is any television programe?) it’s still entertainment. It’s not real people – Big Show isn’t a really bully with an iron clad contract. Cena isn’t Superman, AJ isn’t crazy. These are altheltes/actors who do there job very well by portraying characters. There may be elements of bullying in the storylines – but that’s it they are storylines. And with the be a star campaign WWE Use there stars and characters to explain the effects of bullying. Ortunga is a bad guy on the show – yet they use him as a spokes person for be a star because THE SHOW ISNT REAL – its just a show – like any other on any other network. Other shows that have ‘good serial killers’ or bullying within schools don’t get as much grief as WWE. It’s a show people – plain and simple. Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes the bad guys win and makes you do bad things, but the good guy in the end, normally prevails. That’s what happens in a TELEVISION SHOW!!!!!

  • Colin

    While I agree with the first three rebuttals by WWE, I have to point out that the last statement about their Be A Star campaign is complete and total hypocrisy. I know that much has been said about this in regards to Jim Ross and other talent but the fact that WWE has tried to debunk the belief that they affect bullies in their programming by pointing to this campaign is, quite frankly, insulting.

  • Dan

    What if they meant Festus and not Eugene… J/k

  • Dan

    What if they meant Festus and not Eugene… ?

  • Dumuzi

    I regard wrestling not only as a mindless form of entertainment, but also a form of art. To exist it needs to raise interest, to get POPS. If one promotion repress until the slightest of its shock-value, it dies. An artist's willing to take the heat, because if he doesn't shock he doesn't exist. No one lust over dominant ideology, that's the truth. I don't know about you all, but I don't want, nor I need to have my crap sanitized.
    Creativity has been watered down for decades because of these "Tolerance Raptor Think-Tanks of doom". What have they achieve ? They've only contributed to create nations full of hypocrites and passive-aggressive persons.

    Let's yearn for an Uncensored state of art !

  • Dumuzi

    By the way, news flash: we aren't stupid sheeps. We easily draw parallels between what's outrageously offensive and what's tasteless second-degree fun. Moreover, mentally challenged people don't need sickening pity, or weepy vignettes that hammer so-called respect down our throat. What's real respect ? Certainly not condescendent protection granted by the likes of Joshua Fisher.