It took several weeks, but World Wrestling Entertainment responded Wednesday to the Journal Inquirer’s Federal Election Commission complaint alleging that the Stamford-based entertainment company assisted Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s campaign.
In a statement the WWE said the newspaper’s complaint was an “abuse of process.” It went on to describe as “absurd” the newspaper’s allegation that WWE’s threat of a lawsuit had a chilling effect on the media’s first amendment rights.
“It was done self-servingly to create a story that the Journal Inquirer was the first to report and in retaliation to WWE’s demand for a retraction of libelous statements,” the WWE said in a statement Wednesday. “Based on research, there has never been another single instance of a media company filing a complaint with the FEC against a private entity, let alone a complaint that irresponsibly seeks to involve the FEC in state libel law matters.”
Earlier this year, Journal Inquirer Managing Editor Chris Powell wrote that McMahon, the former WWE chief executive, derived her wealth from “the business of violence, pornography, and general raunch.”
The WWE shot back with a letter calling on Powell for a retraction and threatening legal action. In the letter, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications Brian Flinn said the comments were malicious and libelous.
Powell, who was unavailable for comment Wednesday evening, previously pointed out that he never mentioned the WWE by name in his column.
The newspaper felt that the letter was so threatening, the company filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission in early June. The WWE responded to the complaint on Wednesday.
Earlier this month on the campaign trail, McMahon said she hadn’t been aware of the saga involving her former company, which is currently headed by her husband, Vince. She said she would remain focused on what she was doing, which at the time was a “jobs tour.”
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