If you’ve been on the internet this weekend, you’re probably aware of the latest round of hacked celebrity sex photos and videos, and if you’re a pro wrestling fans, you know that WWE superstar Paige was one of the victims of this hacking, and that some of the photos and videos stolen from her include WWE superstar Xavier Woods and former WWE superstar Brad Maddox. Paige has issued a statement about the hack:
Personal and private photos of mine were stolen and unfortunately they were shared publicly without my consent.
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) March 17, 2017
The tweet was met with a lot of support in response, but also the obligatory responses from subhumans posting the photos and videos in @replies, telling her how much they enjoyed them, or blaming her for daring to privately record sexual acts in the first place. But perhaps more alarming, there’s been a lot of speculation about whether Paige, who is currently out of action with an injury but also the subject of an upcoming movie produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or Woods, who is set to host Wrestlemania with The New Day, will be punished by WWE for the leaks.
Setting aside the fact that it’s sad that we all get so bent out of shape about sex as a culture still in 2017, these photos and videos were stolen in a criminal act, and both Paige and Woods are victims who have done absolutely nothing wrong. Even if WWE has morality clauses in its contracts with performers, neither Paige nor Woods were responsible for publicly releasing this footage, and sex between any number of consenting adults is not illegal in any way. In fact, there are very few sex acts that actually break the law (and believe us, we’ve tried). Filming a sex tape is the god-given right of all Americans. Hell, we’re filming one right now while we write this article. Just because someone is famous does not mean that they should not be allowed to film sex acts for their private enjoyment because someone might steal and release them, any more than they should be expected to take the responsibility for any criminal act they’re the victim of.
In WWE, there is some precedent, as nude pictures of superstar Seth Rollins were leaked without his consent in February of 2015, and Rollins won the WWE World Championship at Wrestlemania just two months later and remains popular and successful today. Hopefully, WWE keeps calm and realizes that wrestling fans aren’t going to stop watching their product or stop supporting these performers because they became aware of the shocking fact that people traveling around the world and working together on a regular basis sometimes sex with each other. The producers of Wrestling With My Family, the Paige biopic, should do the same.
There are also some rumors floating around that WWE could keep The New Day off TV on Monday, as Raw will be taking place in Brooklyn, where smarky crowds will almost certainly go into business for themselves and chant about the sex tapes while Woods is in the ring. The situation the following week in Philly is likely to be similar. Additionally, former WWE CEO Linda McMahon is now an official member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, so who knows if there will be any pressure from that. Still, WWE should resist the urge to react, beyond a statement of support for its employees. For one thing, keeping Woods out of sight of the crowd isn’t likely to stop them from chanting if they want to, as chants for CM Punk years after he stopped working for the company plainly show. Likewise, if WWE can stubbornly resist turning Roman Reigns heel despite several years worth of loud booing, and simply edit the negative chants out of replays and video packages, then they can damn well deal with whatever Brooklyn and Philly have to throw at them in the coming weeks.