World Wrestling Entertainment is airing a television ad that promotes a children’s charity with a video clip featuring Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, the company’s former chief executive.
Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo asked television stations today not to air the ad, which she describes as an illegal corporate contribution by WWE.
The commercial briefly shows McMahon hugging a child. It promotes the Make a Wish Foundation.
The ad is airing on cable systems throughout Connecticut, said the WWE’s spokesman, Robert Zimmerman.
“That’s where the company feels the inaccuracies about the company have occurred in the last year,” he said.
DiNardo also has complained to federal election officials that WWE, which is run by McMahon’s husband, is assisting her campaign by launching an outreach effort to WWE fans about criticism of wrestling made by Linda McMahon’s opponent, Democrat Richard Blumenthal.
“We ask you to join us in responding to these malicious attacks against the company and you, our viewers,” Vince McMahon says in an online video.
It is illegal for a corporation to coordinate independent expenditures with a campaign. In this case, since the McMahon’s are married, Democrats say that coordination is inevitable.
The McMahon campaign calls the complaint “baseless.”
And the company said it will continue to defend itself.
“World Wrestling Entertainment will not be bullied or intimidated by whining allegations intended to censor our freedom of speech,” said Vince McMahon, Chairman and CEO of WWE.