Criticize U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon and you risk getting threatened with a libel lawsuit by the wrestling entertainment company she used to run, WWE Inc. of Stamford, now run by her husband -- threatened even when the criticism of McMahon doesn't mention WWE.
WWE says it doesn't produce pornography and its television programs have been rated "PG" -- "parental guidance" -- since 2008. The purpose of WWE's libel threats is to discourage complaints about the product of the candidate's business prior to 2008, before she began to think about using her fortune to acquire high public office and started cleaning up her act.
Such complaints, documented by videos of WWE programs produced before 2008, destroyed McMahon's Senate candidacy in 2010 and left her at the bottom of the Republican ticket, with more people holding a negative opinion of her than a positive one.
WWE sent out the following yesterday…
"WWE is a global television content creator and a publicly traded company whose core business is monetizing that very television content. When our content is unfairly mischaracterized, it seriously jeopardizes our business.
Since 2008, all WWE broadcast programming has been rated TV-PG and prior to that some of our programming had a rating of TV-14. WWE's content ratings are set not by us, but by the network TV distributors (NBCUniversal) and their standards and practices departments.
According to the TV Parental Guidelines established by the television industry and adopted by the Federal Communications Commission, neither TV-PG nor TV-14 content would be considered pornography or anything close to it. In addition, the FCC would not permit our content to air on network or basic cable television if it were pornographic.
WWE refuses to be bullied and will not allow our content to be inaccurately categorized. This is not about politics or Linda McMahon's (former CEO of WWE) candidacy. This is about protecting WWE's business and setting the record straight that WWE has never been in the business of pornography. We must vigorously defend our company with any and all resources at our disposal."