FILE - In this March 2, 2010 file pool photo, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon attends a debate with money manager Peter Schiff and former Congressmen Rob Simmons at the Lincoln Theater on the University of Hartford campus in West Hartford, Conn. The widow of a World Wrestling Entertainment performer who died in a 1999 stunt says she's suing the Connecticut-based company and its leaders, including Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon. Martha Hart, widow of Owen Hart, plans to file her lawsuit Tuesday, June 22, 2010, in U.S. District Court in Hartford. (AP Photo/John Woike, Pool, File) (AP)

Another former Linda McMahon employee dies young

The former WWE executive running for Senate probably doesn't want to hear about the death of wrestler Luna Vachon


Alex Pareene
August 31, 2010 9:31PM (UTC)

Weeks after a 29-year-old former WWE wrestler died, 48-year-old former professional wrestler Gertrude "Luna" Vachon was found dead at her home Friday morning. Sheriff's deputies report finding oxycodone at the scene and "several prescription bottles" in the bedroom. Which is probably not great news for former WWE CEO and Senate candidate Linda McMahon.

It wasn't until 2006 that the WWE instituted any sort of serious drug and wellness policy (just as, conveniently, they instituted a "TV-PG" content policy in 2008, as McMahon stepped up her charitable work and shortly before she got herself appointed to the Connecticut Board of Education), and McMahon and her husband, Vince, have been accused on multiple occasions of tacitly or explicitly encouraging drug use by their performers, all of whom are paid as freelancers, not employees, who could be fired at any time (like, for example, if they're unwilling or unable to perform through painful injuries).

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The WWE pointed out that it paid to send Vachon to rehab in 2009, as part of that wellness program. The McMahon campaign said it would be premature to comment. The WWE added that people totally die of drugs all the time, even people who didn't wrestle professionally for years.

"Ultimately however, stars in any form of entertainment should be held personally responsible for their own actions. Prescription drug overdose is a problem not only with former WWE talent, but society as a whole according to the Centers for Disease Control, as it is the second leading cause of unintentional death (particularly among younger people) in the U.S."

That's true, in that the CDC classifies presciption drug overdoses the same way it classifies car accidents. But many more Americans annually are killed by heart disease -- just like Lance Cade, the aforementioned 29-year-old former WWE wrestler who died two weeks ago.

(Of course, professional wrestling may not be that much more damaging or deadly than, say, professional football -- but would you vote for Al Davis for anything?)


Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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