What’s the Deal with Linda McMahon and Women?

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As Linda McMahon’s campaign hits a rough patch, one topic no one is discussing in any depth is Linda and women.

Spending $50 million as the minority party candidate in a presidential off-year election, McMahon will not lose the Connecticut Senate election to Democrat Richard Blumenthal by 20-plus points. The polls will surely fluctuate between now and November.

But it’s clear from McMahon’s television commercials and mailers that she has relied heavily on a perceived gender gap. What I want to know is, Why?

Two other female former corporate CEO’s are likely Republican nominees for statewide office in California, where I live. Neither Meg Whitman (eBay, governor) nor Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard, senator) has been nearly as explicit in pitching women. McMahon’s reliance here is also full of seeming contradictions, given what could reasonably be termed the misogynist content of World Wrestling Entertainment programming. I couch these words because I’m not particularly interested in getting into all that. Women don’t need a male commentator lecturing them on the standards, contradictions, and compromises of female power seekers. Bill Clinton’s wife made her choices, and Hugh Hefner’s daughter made hers, and now Vince McMahon’s wife apparently has made hers.

However, I do believe the sexual corporate climate at WWE is not only fair game but also a valuable indicator of this Senate candidate’s qualifications. See “Linda McMahon’s WWE and ESPN: Connecticut Cohorts in ‘Sports Entertainment’ and Sexual Harassment,” May 13, http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/linda-mcmahons-wwe-and-espn-connecticut-cohorts-in-sports-entertainment-and-sexual-harassment/. So here’s yet another hitherto unreported story in that motif.

In March 2009 the former global licensing coordinator for WWE, Fara D’Angelo, filed a sexual discrimination and harassment civil suit against the company in U.S. District Court in Connecticut. The case is pending. D’Angelo alleges a long pattern of harassment by Alex Romer, WWE’s former London-based senior director of international consumer products, who is now a private consultant. According to the complaint (viewable at http://muchnick.net/dangelo.pdf), Mike Archer, WWE’s senior director of quality assurance, and Bernadette Hawkes, senior coordinator of quality assurance, both advised D’Angelo to look for another job when she reported Romer’s behavior to them.

I received no response to emails to both Romer in London and WWE spokesman Robert Zimmerman in Stamford.

Irv Muchnick

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Concussion Inc. - Author Irvin Muchnick