Friday, September 3, 2010

Linda McMahon’s Defense of WWE Contract Death Clauses Is, ‘We Don’t Really Mean It’

Don Michak of the Manchester Journal Inquirer, who consistently has done some of the best reporting on behind-the-scenes aspects of the Connecticut Senate campaign, comes through again today with “WWE talent deals have ‘death clauses’ releasing company from liability.”

The article, whose full text is behind the pay wall at the newspaper’s website, has the subhead “McMahon camp defends the contracts, including one she signed personally.”

Here is the full text of the opening three paragraphs:

The father of a three-time champion wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., the company owned and formerly headed by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, said Thursday that he was flabbergasted to learn after his son’s suicide that his contract with WWE contained a so-called “death clause.”

“It was only after the death of my son that I actually saw his WWE contract,” Michael Benoit, a Canadian whose son, Chris Benoit, hung himself after killing his wife and son three years ago. “I was shocked that any corporation could knowingly put its workers at such risk and accept no responsibility.”

But McMahon’s campaign spokesman said that while such clauses — which ostensibly release WWE from liability in the event of a wrestler’s death in the ring or due to injuries sustained there, even if the company is negligent — are part of its talent contracts, WWE has “never exercised that option.”

Irv Muchnick

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