Updated Sep 17, 6:05 p.m. ET
Connecticut Democrats are trying to thwart a new effort by World Wrestling Entertainment to remove all traces of past racy content to stop it from being used against Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, the company’s former CEO. And the WWE is pushing right back.
On Monday, state Democrats re-posted a video they assembled during McMahon’s 2010 run that includes WWE clips showing simulated sexual assault, necrophilia and other theatrical depravity. Accompanying the montage was a voiceover of McMahon, explaining that the company’s product was fun, soap-opera entertainment, and that in recent years they had cleaned it up for a PG rating.
But by Monday afternoon, the video was pulled.
State party communications director Elizabeth Larkin told TPM that the party was not contacted by WWE regarding the alleged violation.
“Based on the ‘fair use exception’ under the copyright law, we believe it appropriate to use this information to inform voters about Linda McMahon’s qualifications for the United States Senate,” said Larkin.
“Some of this footage has been misused in political environments without any context or explanation as to when it was produced,” WWE said last week in defending its decision to remove the content. “This damages the corporate reputation of our company. WWE is well within its rights to protect its intellectual property for fair use.”
The McMahon campaign told TPM Monday that re-posting the 2010 video represents a desperate effort from Chris Murphy, her Democratic opponent.
“Chris Murphy and his minions at the state Democratic Party are grasping at straws to come up with anything they hope will divert the public’s attention away from the fact that Congressman Murphy’s campaign is imploding.”
McMahon’s campaign was not involved in WWE’s corporate decision. The campaign declined to comment on of whether the decision interferes with political speech.