If you’re looking online for some of the older footage of World Wrestling Entertainment, you’re not going to find it.
With it’s former CEO, Linda McMahon, running for the U.S. Senate, the publicly traded company has sought to erase some of its raunchier footage from the early days.
“Some of this footage has been misused in political environments without any context or explanation as to when it was produced. This damages the corporate reputation of our company. WWE is well within its rights to protect its intellectual
property for fair use,” Brian Flynn, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the WWE, said Thursday.
McMahon has described the fictional storylines which are part of the wrestling program as “family-friendly.”
But Democrat backed groups believe it promotes sex and violence and is demeaning toward women.
One of the storylines often raised as an example include McMahon’s husband Vince forcing a wrestler named Trish to take off her clothes, get on her hands and knees and bark like a dog to get back in his good graces.
“For years WWE has produced programming that is rated PG in primetime, and most recently rated G on Saturday mornings,” Flynn said. “To better reflect our current family-friendly brand of entertainment, WWE is removing some dated and edgier footage from digital platforms.”
That includes YouTube videos created by fans and some by McMahon’s political opponents such as Moms Opposing McMahon. The video they compiled now shows television static and says “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by the WWE.”
But the WWE claims it’s always looking to protect its image, not just in election years.
“Since user generated content is constantly posted, we have an on-going process to protect our intellectual property,” Flynn said.
But it still gave her Democratic opponent Chris Murphy an opening to criticize his opponent.
“This is what Linda McMahon doesn’t want Connecticut voters to see: the sum total of her business experience comes from selling explicit sex and violence to children while laying off 10 percent of her workforce and taking multimillion dollar paydays funded by Connecticut taxpayers,“ Ben Marter, Murphy’s communications director, said Friday.
He argued that even taking down old footage won’t repair McMahon’s image with voters.
“Spending millions of dollars on a political image make-over isn’t going to fool Connecticut families, and Linda McMahon can’t hide from her miserable record of promoting the abusive, demeaning, and degrading treatment of women,“ Marter said. “The question is: is the WWE now coordinating with McMahon to cover up her embarrassing past?”
The McMahon campaign and the WWE said there’s no merit to the coordination claim.