Connecticut's Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon has touted her experience as former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as an indicator of her leadership skills, but her opponents continue to castigate McMahon for her career history.
The Connecticut Democratic Party has helped organize a group called Mothers Opposing McMahon, which says on its Facebook page its goal is to "spread the truth about the explicit violence and degradation of women that is the core of McMahon's WWE enterprise."
The group is up with a web video of nearly three minutes of vulgar wrestling footage. Footage from 2001 shows McMahon's husband, Vince McMahon, forcing a female wrestler to get on her knees and bark like a dog. The video also shows footage of male wrestlers attacking female wrestlers in the ring, as well as footage of Linda McMahon slapping her daughter on stage.
"A vote for Linda McMahon is a slap in the face to Connecticut women," text on the screen reads.
The McMahons and WWE have come under scrutiny before for their treatment of wrestlers, but the organization is once again in the spotlight because of McMahon's Senate bid, the New York Times reports.
Linda and Vince McMahon turned WWE from a regional operation into a $1.2 billion international organization, the Times reports. Its wrestlers, however, are classified as contractors and don't receive health insurance from the organization, even though it is a physically grueling profession. Congress has investigated steroid use among WWE wrestlers, and the organization has avoided much regulatory oversight by insisting that the scripted performances are not athletic competitions.
"It is a very financially successful company," Dave Meltzer, the editor of Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which covers the industry, told the New York Times. "But, boy, there were a lot of bodies discarded in the building of that company."
McMahon defended her leadership of WWE to the Times and said that successful companies "in the long term absolutely have to put people first." She also claims her experience as a CEO gives her the experience needed to create jobs and stimulate the economy as a senator.
She hasin a campaign ad in which she calls professional wrestling "a soap opera that entertains millions every week."
McMahon is running against Connecticut's Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to replace the retiring Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd.
Blumenthal has maintained a solid lead in polls; a Quinnipiac poll released today shows Blumenthal beating McMahon 54 percent to 37 percent.