If WWE's signs 'fantasy wrestling' star, could it hurt Linda McMahon's Senate run?
Political foes constantly peppered Linda McMahon during her unsuccessful 2010 U.S. Senate run with claims that she built her fortune on an industry that objectified women.
Now, just more than two weeks after the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO announced that she will again seek Connecticut's Republican nomination for the Senate, women's wrestling website diva-dirt.com reported that WWE has signed Canadian wrestler/fitness model Kira Forster to a developmental contract. Forster, as well as her trainer Lance Storm, retweeted a Diva Dirt tweet offering congratulations on her signing.
"A pre-contract screening is being done on Kira Forster, same as we do for the thousands of applicants that are hoping to receive a contract with the WWE every year. No contract has been signed, and no determination will be made until a thorough examination has been made of the pre-contract screening. This is standard for all applicants," a WWE spokesperson said after this story was published.
Here's the problem: The home page to kiraforster.net says the site is now closed. But a subpage is still available via a Google search and shows thumbnail images of Forster engaging in multiple "fantasy wrestling" scenarios with other women, including some taking place in bed. The home page still contains links to several other sites, including herflexappeal.com, which includes pictures of Forster with another woman in a photo series titled "Sexy Muscle Times Two."
In recent years WWE, which once promoted bra and panties matches and hinted at "hot lesbian action," has toned down explicit displays by its female performers. But the attempt to present more of a PG product didn't impress female voters in Connecticut in 2010. A New York Times article just weeks before McMahon's general election loss to Richard Blumenthal highlighted the problem.
McMahon resigned her position as CEO in 2009 to run for the Senate and hasn't returned to WWE since. But her connection to the wrestling business continues to give opponents ammunition. Following the announcement that she would run again, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a press release that in part blasted McMahon for "marketing sex and violence to children."
Forster's "fantasy wrestling" photo galleries are dated as late as February of 2008. Maybe she's long gone from that line of work and wants to pursue her dream without her past damaging her future. (Although the herflexappeal.com photos are apparently still available for purchase.) Normally, I would just wish her well.
But WWE, with all the political vultures hovering, isn't going to be able to sell this as giving someone an opportunity at a better life. Why would WWE do anything so potentially damaging to a second McMahon run (the first cost $50 million) with so little upside? WWE gives little air time to its female performers, anyway.
Political candidates have to be vetted. If McMahon wants any chance to finally get elected, WWE needs to be just as vigilant for the next 12 months.