MJ from NJ here,
I wanted to take a moment to let the forum know I will be taking less of an active role around here as I am officially suspending my viewing support and interest in the WWE. I still plan to keep up with John and Wai - frankly I’d listen to them talk about paint dry which speaks to how much I enjoy their chemistry and conversations, and I’ve listened weekly since 2011 so it would be weird to stop now - but this week challenged me to really think about where certain lines are and what accountability means in the face of historical and unprecedented events in America. I asked myself what in my life is directly linked in a very real way to what we saw on Wednesday. The answer, WWE (the McMahons) is probably the thing I spend most time on directly linked to what we saw unfold (and more what led to it).
I’m not sure how many people know just how involved the McMahon family is with Donald Trump and the movement that led to Wednesday. At this time, I’m not sure how much fault the McMahon family should carry for where his movement ultimately went with things, but I don’t see it as something I can divorce anymore. In short, Linda McMahon has been Chair of America First Action, one of the most pro-Trump superPAC, responsible with raising $100s of millions of dollars for his re-election between 2019-2020. According to Federal Election Commission receipts, the McMahons donated $1mil 19x. That’s at least $19 million dollars directly to the campaign, as well as the responsibility of raising nearly hundreds of millions to bolster the voice and legitimacy of Donald Trump an his quest to remain president. What we saw Wednesday doesn’t happen if the leader of the movement doesn’t have a pulpit like the presidency. It doesn’t happen without millions of dollars behind the machine making him a national figure appealing to the worst kinds of people looking for a vessel. It’s a matter of fact - the owners of the World Wrestling Entertainment made it their job to fundraise for that figure (and subsequently movement) at a time when he was openly declaring that he could only lose a rigged election. The same rigged election rhetoric that directly incited the events of Wednesday. Well, you might ask, superPACs and their Chairs don’t encourage mobs and insurrection do they? No. But here is why I can longer divorce the McMahon/WWE involvement any longer. Most candidates do not run for re-election planting seeds for exactly what we saw transpire. So while I have in the past separated the fringe movement we saw on Wednesday from other GOP activities, this time I cannot.
And I cannot because ultimately, who is responsible? I’m sure some people who entered the Capitol or worse will be arrested. Will their cult-of-personality leader punished? How bout the tech platforms that allowed conspiracies to be posted for weeks - are they in the clear? Forums that hosted groups planning the events - they are okay too? And what for the people who made it their responsibility to keep the gravy train going which legitimized the entire thing?
That last part unfortunately is Linda McMahon. Chair of America First Action, the fundraising arm of the Trump campaign, the campaign that directly resulted in the United States Capitol building invaded by angry mobs echoing campaign slogans and talking points.
We saw the WWE go to Saudi Arabia and questioned it - here’s an honest assessment in hindsight. they do not care about freedoms or democracy or justice - they are interested in their own personal gain and business which is exactly as their leader. It stands to reason they don’t care if a coup attempt is successful or not because they won’t be impacted, right?
We saw the same America First Action superPAC (again, controlled by Linda McMahon) donate millions of dollars in Florida when the WWE needed to be deemed “essential”. Quid Pro Quo - just like their President operates. It was open bribery then, and it stands to reason now, this has been standard operating procedures for people in that Trump orbit.
Now I know not all enablers can be directly tied to the worst of it, but I am of the opinion sitting at the head of the financing arm is pretty close to the top of the movement where you cannot be ignorant. No excuse of ignorance will satisfy me right now. Can’t claim you didn’t know it would go this way when for months it was being signaled. If another country sponsored terrorism we’d have an issue with them. In this case, America First Action (and the McMahons) sought to re-elect a president (who as of this post, still sits in their Hall of Fame) who literally incited a domestic terrorist event on Wednesday; if the same event was carried out by another country we may have already dropped bombs on them.
So yeah, I cannot divorce the issue anymore. I’m out on WWE. Maybe I’ll return when things settle down and I have a better understanding of what responsibility will look like for parties and actors that we cannot simply act like they are innocent in all of this. At this time, I want to do a hard pause and reassess what I spend time on and what those brands or people support or are allowed to take place unchecked that lead to Wednesday. What value do they bring to my life, what entertainment do I derive from it? WWE has not been entertaining for years but has been something communal and fun to stay involved with. Maybe I should have drawn the line before and that is my fault. But as the saying goes your time is up and my time is now to step away.
Peace and love to all,