This isn’t about truth. It’s not about rumor either. It’s about common decency. It’s about the WWE taking his public slandering of Kelly Kelly seriously. In a radio interview given yesterday, Orton made mention that the WWE Diva had been with her fair share of guys. Her alleged sexual encounters served as a running joke to throughout the program. Orton confirmed or denied the guesses of the hosts of Between the Ropes.
This isn’t about chastising Randy Orton. This morning he was completely apologetic. On his twitter page he had displayed plenty of humility for his actions.
Orton tweeted "Yesterday I put my foot in my mouth and I need to try my best to make it right. I owe Kelly K an apology. The fact that she has dated a few guys I work with doesn't make her a bad person, and is also none of my or anyone elses buisness. [sic]"
While anyone can appreciate a mistake, this was far more than that. It wasn’t an isolated incident on a call. It wasn’t a one-off comment. It was a running gag and something that the WWE, Orton’s employer, must address.
Certainly Orton is doing his best to right the ship, but at any other job this would be an issue that would be grounds for suspension or termination. Now, we all live in the real world where money talks and the WWE isn’t going to fire the face of SmackDown for insinuating that a girl sleeps around. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth canning Orton over, but it does speak to a larger problem.
If the WWE is going to be continue to entice potential shareholders with their PG image, they are going to have to get some quality control over their wrestlers. This is no longer the age of Hogan and Savage. These days, even the mid-card star is giving five minutes to a blogger, or talking to a mole from the Internet dirt sheets. Everything they say has merit, and everything they say has a potential impact for their brand.
Where does Kelly Kelly fit in all this? Well, as the top female in a business that would love to grow their audience to women, the last thing you want is a girl who has a questionable reputation. That is the kind of thing that turns off parents and that, in turn, makes advertisers bail on the product.
The WWE, and its top performers especially, should remember that even smaller interviews make the rounds quickly in this age of social media. The juicier it is, the faster the world will have access to it. The bottom line is that Orton should have known better and he should be reprimanded for his actions.
There is nothing that can derail a company faster than earning the reputation as a place that is not comfortable for women to work at. A company that abuses or mistreats women is on a fast track to nowhere.
The best thing that Vince McMahon and his braintrust can do is slap a short-lived suspension on the Viper and make it clear that gossiping about the sexual history anyone in the company isn’t tolerated.
That’s why legit companies would handle it. Does the WWE believe they are legit?