by Irvin Muchnick
David Bixenspan, the indefatigible pro wrestling historian and investigator, has published an important and widely anticipated retrospective on the 1990s ring boy sexual abuse scandals at WWE. Appropriately, Business Insider pegged the article to the presidential election, in which Linda McMahon — former company CEO and the wife of game-changer Vince McMahon — chairs America First Action, the top Trumpian Political Action Committee, after serving in the cabinet as head of the Small Business Administration.
I urge everyone to read and process “WWE cofounder Linda McMahon, who runs Trump’s biggest super PAC, once hired a suspected child molester on the condition that he ‘stop chasing after kids.’ He didn’t.,” https://www.businessinsider.com/linda-mcmahon-once-employed-an-accused-child-molester-2020-10.
Unfortunately, a day after posting to universal access, the article appears to be already behind a paywall. But the content will get around, and it is certain to rattle the consciences of fans and others who tend to blow past the real-world fallout of the wrestling phenomenon. I myself contemporaneously wrote about the ring boy scandals, in less depth, in items for the Village Voice that were part of my 2007 collection, Wrestling Babylon.
As I argue in the introduction to the new “ultimate historical edition” of my 2009 book, Chris & Nancy, a true-crime account of the Chris Benoit double-murder suicide and WWE’s tawdry spin of its fallout, such stories are not cultural curiosities but, rather, the brick and mortar of Trumpism. The McMahons have a longstanding business relationship with the demagogue populist president, including two early WrestleManias staged at Trump’s soon-to-be-belly-up Atlantic City casino. Another WrestleMania featured Trump’s own participation as a headline act. Vince and Linda’s multimillion-dollar seed contributions to the fraudulent Donald J. Trump Foundation (which was dissolved last year to resolve a criminal investigation by the attorney general of New York) were, effectively, a payout to Trump for the pay-per-view buys he had helped accrue.
Well done, David Bixenspan.