Former WWE CEO Has Always Looked Out for Her Own Bottom Line at the Expense of Her Employees
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald J. Trump promised that he would put the interests of hard working Americans ahead of the corrupt self-dealing of the Washington establishment. Responding to news that the president-elect chose his friend and benefactor of more than thirty years, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, to lead the Small Business Administration, Allied Progress released the following statement from its executive director Karl Frisch:
“Small businesses are the job-creating drivers of our economy but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the men and women President-elect Trump is seeking to surround himself with in his fledgling administration.”
“Rather than select an SBA administrator committed to bolstering small businesses and looking out for the interests hardworking Americans, President-elect Trump has chosen professional wrestling’s Linda McMahon. It’s an example of bad decision-making on steroids.”
“Throughout her career in choreographed fighting and as a two-time failed candidate for U.S. Senate, McMahon has demonstrated that she is far more interested in looking out for her own bottom line than the well-being of her employees.”
“Whether it’s failing to pay employees of her unsuccessful Senate campaigns, or treating the men and women who made her wrestling company a billion-dollar empire as independent contractors to avoid paying for health and retirement benefits, McMahon has never had the best interests of workers in mind.”
- After Losing Her Second Senate Campaign, Campaign Workers Went to the Media Claiming They Had Not Been Paid: In 2012, “‘Two days after the election campaign workers came to News 8 claiming they had not been paid by Linda McMahon’s campaign. We spoke out on their behalf and one week after the election the campaign was writing checks. The only problem is that the checks bounced. . . . Twaine Don Gomes was one of the people who first complained to News 8. He was handed a check, but he says, the campaign told him they were mad that he came to News 8, so he got a little something extra in his envelope. ‘Basically he handed me a check with a condom in it, told me I was screwed,’ Gomes said. ‘That’s the rudest gesture you can ever do to a person, it’s like spitting in a person’s face.’” [Annie Rourke, “Campaign Worker Receives Check and Condom, Check Bounces,” WTNH-News 8, November 20, 2012.]
- McMahon Told Congress Her Company Stopped Steroid Testing Wrestlers Because it “Was Not Cost Effective: In 1996, Linda McMahon testified before Congress that the WWE stopped its steroid testing program “because there were so few positive tests” and that “her husband suspended the program because ‘It was not cost effective.’” From 1996 to 2005, “there was a 10-year period when the WWE had no broad-based drug-testing policy, even though several wrestlers who had been linked to anabolic steroids and other drugs died during that time. It wasn’t until after the death of Eddie Guerrero in 2005 that a policy was put in place that reinstated drug testing, first done between 1991 and 1996.” [Ed Stanndard, “Steroid Stain Lingers on McMahon’s WWE,” (New Hartford, CT) Register Citizen, June 20, 2016.]
- Wrestlers End Careers without Health or Retirement Benefits–Many with Crippling Disabilities–Despite Making the McMahons Wildly Wealthy: “In his heyday, Allen Ray Sarven appeared regularly on the World Wrestling Entertainment circuit, flattening opponents with diving leg drops from atop the ropes. But years of bounding around the ring took a toll, leaving Mr. Sarven with neurological damage that caused numbness on his right side, hearing loss, and memory problems. Eventually, Mr. Sarven, 46, met the fate of other wrestlers considered no longer of use to the WWE: his contract was not renewed and he was eliminated from the company’s wrestling roster—with no health insurance or retirement benefits to show for his years in the ring.” Vince and Linda E. McMahon have built the WWE “into a $1.2 billion empire operating in 145 countries. But along the way, the McMahons have become known for hard-nosed tactics and have been accused of putting profits ahead of the well-being of the wrestlers who attract millions of fans with their daredevil stunts and cartoonishly sculpted physiques. . . ‘It is a very financially successful company,’ said Dave Meltzer, the editor of Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which covers the industry. ‘But, boy, there were a lot of bodies discarded in the building of that company.’” [Raymond Hernandez and Joshua Brustein, “A Senate Run Brings Wrestling Into Spotlight,” New York Times, July 15, 2010.]
- McMahon Wrote Memo Urging Company Executives to Warn Steroid Doc About Criminal Investigation: In 1989, Linda McMahon sent “a confidential memo to a fellow executive at Titan Sports” warning that the WWF “should alert Dr. George T. Zahorian III that a criminal investigation could be heading his way” regarding his alleged sales of steroids. The doctor was ultimately convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for the distribution of steroids. McMahon’s husband Vince and the company were also charged with possession with intent to distribute steroids but the charges were dropped due to a legal technicality. [Ted Mann, “McMahon Warned Steroid Doctor of Investigation,” (New London, CT) The Day, April 10, 2010.]
In the weeks and months ahead, Allied Progress will continue to hold the President-elect’s transition and eventual administration accountable for its cabinet and staffing decisions as well as the policies it pursues.
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