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Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin cry foul at WWE Tea Party stereotypes
Ms. McMahon, a former president and CEO of WWE, reportedly spent $47 million of her personal fortune running as a Republican in a failed bid for a Senate seat in Connecticut in 2012.
“This is part of the divide and conquer tactic of cultural subversion to manufacture racial division and to characterize the Tea Party, conservatives, libertarians, opponents of uncontrolled illegal immigration and constitutionalists as racist, extremist radicals who should be pushed to the fringes of the political discourse,” Mr. Watson wrote.
The controversy began during a Feb. 11 episode of “Monday Night Raw” that saw Mr. Swagger rebranded as a sweaty, intolerant nativist while a safari vest-wearing Mr. Colter — introduced as a Vietnam War veteran and a “real patriot” — gave a rambling, unpalatable address from the center of the ring.
“Fellow Americans, I’ve got a question for you,” Mr. Colter said. “What’s wrong with America?”
“I look around and see a country I don’t even recognize. I see people with faces not like mine. I see people that I don’t even know what they’re saying. I look around and think, ‘Where did all these people come from?’ And most importantly I think, ‘How do we get rid of them?’”
As the Nashville, Tenn. crowd booed, Mr. Swagger looked on with nodding approval.
“We the people!” Mr. Colter said.
On Monday, Mr. Colter gave a televised “State of the Union Address” in which he promised that Mr. Swagger would “reclaim America” at the upcoming Wrestlemania annual pay-per-view event — presumably by out-grappling current WWE heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio, whose in-ring persona is that of a clean-shaven, good-guy Mexican billionaire.
Despite conservative concern, a WWE spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter that Mr. Swagger and Mr. Colter’s storyline represented “current events” and that the organization did not plan to alter its scripts.
“WWE has a long history of creating fictional characters that serve as either protagonists or antagonists, no different than other television shows or feature films,” WWE senior vice president of marketing and communications Brian Flinn wrote to the Hollywood Reporter in an e-mail. “To create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines.”
“WWE is creating drama centered on a topical subject that has varying points of view to develop a rivalry between two characters. This storyline in no way represents WWE’s political point of view. One should not confuse WWE’s storytelling with what WWE stands for, similar to other entertainment companies such as Warner Bros., Universal Studios or Viacom.”
For his part, Mr. Beck found the company’s stance perplexing.
Outside the ring, however, conservatives may yet have the last laugh: According to the celebrity news and gossip website TMZ, Mr. Swagger was arrested in Mississippi Tuesday night for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.
Last year, WWE suspended wrestler Randy Orton — a far bigger star than Mr. Swagger — 60 days after he tested positive for marijuana use.
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About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
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