Archive for October 12th, 2010

Linda McMahon’s Lawyer Threatens Libel Suit Against Talking Points Memo

Talking Points Memo has published a story reviewing a claim by a former wrestling referee that she was raped by Linda McMahon’s husband Vince. See “Flashback: McMahons Sued Geraldo For Airing Rape Claims By Former WWE Referee,” http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/10/mcmahons-sued-geraldo-fired-employee-for-emotional-distress-after-rape-claim-video.php.

Near the end of the piece, the Talking Points writer, Christina Ballantoni, quotes the McMahons’ lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, as telling the web publisher that publication of the new story would be “at your peril. Preserve all your notes, I’m going to send a litigation hold notice…. We will treat any republication of those allegations as libel and defamation…. I say this on behalf of Mr. McMahon.”

The claim by the referee, Rita Chatterton (“Rita Marie”), was also reviewed in my 2000 magazine article “In Bed With the WWF: Sex and Scandal in Pro Wrestling,” which became a chapter of my 2007 book Wrestling Babylon. The chapter has been posted on this blog. See https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/muchnick-book-bonus-%E2%80%98in-bed-with-the-wwf-%E2%80%93-sex-and-scandal-in-pro-wrestling%E2%80%99/.

Here is the passage about Chatterton from that piece: “[T]he WWF’s first female referee, Rita Chatterton, came forward with a tale of having been raped by McMahon in the back seat of his limousine. Chauffeur Jim Stuart corroborated Chatterton’s account and filed a lawsuit of his own, alleging that, during his WWF employment, he had been forced into witnessing the commission of crimes. Both Chatterton and Stuart have since disappeared into the fog machine. Stuart’s lawyer at the time, Frank Riccio, is not returning calls.”

For background on the legal threats I have received from lawyer McDevitt, see:

* “K&L Gates in Bizarre WWE Smackdown,” American Lawyer Media, October 2, 2009, http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2009/10/kl-gates-in-bizarre-1.html

* “Jerry McDevitt, Lawyer for Linda McMahon’s WWE, Gets Mad at Me Again (Part 1),” January 21, 2010, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/jerry-mcdevitt-lawyer-for-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-wwe-gets-mad-at-me-again-part-1/

* “Jerry McDevitt, Lawyer for Linda McMahon’s WWE, Gets Mad at Me Again (Part 2),” January 22, 2010, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/jerry-mcdevitt-lawyer-for-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-wwe-gets-mad-at-me-again-part-2/

* “Jerry McDevitt, Lawyer for Linda McMahon’s WWE, Gets Mad at Me Again (Part 3),” January 23, 2010, https://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/jerry-mcdevitt-lawyer-for-linda-mcmahon%E2%80%99s-wwe-gets-mad-at-me-again-part-3/

Irv Muchnick

FLASHBACK: McMahons Sued Geraldo For Airing Rape Claims By Former WWE Referee

Video of Linda McMahon’s Statement, ‘The Consequences of Death Is a Very Sad Thing’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhEIlyyy9_c

Linda McMahon: ‘The Consequences of Death Is a Very Sad Thing’

LINDA McMAHON, AT TONIGHT’S DEBATE, DEFENDING WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT’S CULTURE OF DEATH:

“There is absolutely a program in place to help men and women in WWE — these performers who are in the ring. And the consequences of death is a very sad thing when that happens, but those were not consequences as a result of ring performances.”

‘That Wellness Policy Is Not Working Too Well’

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL AT TONIGHT’S DEBATE WITH LINDA McMAHON:

I can’t believe that I just heard Ms. McMahon brag about this wellness policy at WWE. She requires all wrestlers to sign a death clause that absolves WWE of all responsibility if wrestlers are killed in the ring and if the company is at fault — absolves her company of all responsibility. That wellness policy is not working too well. There have been seven dead wrestlers since she started campaigning for this office. I would suggest some other policy might be advisable.

Richard Blumenthal / Linda McMahon Debate Wrap

Ann Nyberg was an overmatched moderator – unclear on the ground rules and procedures, and constantly making that “shooshing” sound that came off like a teacher who lost control of her classroom.

Linda McMahon began strong but faded. (I understand she then ducked out of the post-debate “spin room.”) Richard Blumenthal made his case, sometimes smoothly, sometimes clumsily.

Blumenthal mistakenly said World Wrestling Entertainment had spent “hundreds of millions,” rather than “millions,” of lobbying dollars.

McMahon at one point got tongue-tied and said, “Mr. Blumenthal, when you go to Washington.” She meant “if” you go to Washington. She also placed her opponent at a trial lawyers’ conference in Calgary, Canada, rather than Vancouver.

There were other niggling pluses and minuses for both. The other debate commentators will be able to navigate them better than I.

What matters to me is that Blumenthal, when given the opportunity, said this:

I can’t believe that I just heard Ms. McMahon brag about this wellness policy at WWE. She requires all wrestlers to sign a death clause that absolves WWE of all responsibility if wrestlers are killed in the ring and if the company is at fault — absolves her company of all responsibility. That wellness policy is not working too well. There have been seven dead wrestlers since she started campaigning for this office. I would suggest some other policy might be advisable.

 

Irv Muchnick

Tonight Is Last Blumenthal-McMahon Debate; Let the Debate Over the Number of Debates Begin

Connecticut Public Radio’s John Dankosky reports that tonight’s third live debate between Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon will be the final one after “McMahon Says No to More.” See http://whereweblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/tonights-senate-debate-will-be-the-last-mcmahon-says-no-to-more/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter.

But Hartford Courant columnist Kevin “Don’t Call Linda McMahon My Mouthpiece” Rennie sees it differently. “Mrs. McMahon during the summer agreed to nearly a dozen debates, Mr. Blumenthal accepted only three invitations,” Rennie writes, for those of you keeping score.

 

Irv Muchnick

Hype for Debate No. 3 Is Behind the Reality Curve of Linda McMahon’s Shrill Last Lap

The third live debate between Connecticut Senate candidates Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon will be tonight, 7 p.m. Eastern time,  at the Garde Arts Center in New London. The video will stream live at the websites of both co-sponsors, The Day newspaper (http://theday.com) and television station WTNH (http://wtnh.com).

Over the months, WTNH’s Mark Davis has done two reports about McMahon that I recommend:

Though you wouldn’t know this from the continuing yadda-yadda-yadda in new stories in such places as The Boston Globe, wrestler deaths and World Wrestling Entertainment’s independent contractor abuse – along with general public disgust at McMahon’s business practices and self-funded TV advertising – have reversed polling trends that seemed to be making the race closer than it actually is.

The main significance of tonight’s debate and the closing three weeks of the campaign will be to see whether Blumenthal lapses into complacency.

I will post commentary on the debate as quickly as I can, but child-care duties probably prevent me from being able to tweet live.

 

Irv Muchnick


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