It’s been a strange 24 hours in the life of one Tenille Dashwood.
WWE’s “Emma” was arrested yesterday at a Wal-Mart in Hartford, Connecticut for “6th Degree Larceny”.
According to Hartford police, the 25-year-old female wrestler (who plays “Emma” on WWE programming) was booked for not paying a little over $20 dollars for an iPod case which she claimed she forgot to run through the self-checkout.
Her case was processed through Community Court where she bargained to have the arrest and charge wiped off her record if she did one day of community service and attended a court-ordered “educational program”.
I can only imagine how much you could possibly talk about in such a class if the primary take-home message is “Please stop stealing stuff”.
Then came your usual parade of statements. The police dryly announced that Emma was arrested while Emma’s lawyer took the “idiot” route, pretty much declaring, “My client, Emma, did not break the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak but she was pretty much a total moron and forgot to run the item through the scanner”.
The WWE’s statement was both ominous and vague, declaring that they were aware of the arrest and that Dashwood was, ultimately, “responsible for her own actions”.
After statements were issued, courts filed paperwork and banged gavels, and this appeared to be a slap on the wrist for Emma, the blogosphere breathed a sigh of relief and proclaimed that the whole incident was going to blow over.
Today was a different story.
According to WWE.com, Emma was released from the organization with the company wishing her “the best in her future endeavors”.
The dozen or so Superstars WWE released a few days back were probably justifiable, if not unfortunate but seeing as though Emma’s star was just rising and other WWE stars have had far more egregious offenses without so much as a stern look, this one was a bit of a head-scratcher.
Right as everything looked dark, and wrestling fans were debating storming the WWE Corporate Castle in Stamford, Connecticut, something unexpected happened: the WWE released a statement, proclaiming that Emma has been “reinstated”, but would face “punitive action” for her misdeeds.
Either Emma’s got a lawyer that makes Johnny Cochran look like a passive monk or WWE Human Resources put down the drugs and had a moment of clarity and realization.
As you know, the organization has been in a financial tailspin for the last few months following the release of the WWE Network which has seen subscriber numbers fall frustratingly short of expectations. This has coincided with unexpectedly dismal ratings for its flagship show, WWE Monday Night RAW, and a numbers report which left stockholders less than pleased with owner, Vince McMahon.
WWE has responded to this by making several budget cuts that have included office budget cuts and the release of a handful of WWE Superstars.
Since the WWE seems to be pulling every string they can to keep in the black, it seems as though the company might be viewing any non-compliant or deviant behavior, no matter how small, as an excuse to let go of an employee After all, they’ve even started applying additional pressure such as reinstating the company’s dress code and instituting a “zero tolerance policy” for showing up late for tapings and live events.
But, then, what triggered the change of heart? Newly discovered morals? Do the McMahon Grinches suddenly have a heart?
Morals, schmorals. This is the company who just used Adam Rose to plug hard alcohol to a “PG target audience”.
That may not sound especially disconcerting but it really IS, when you consider that WWE Diva Cameron and superstar, Jack Swagger were both arrested in 2012 and 2013 — and they’re still around.
Michael Hayes, a former wrestler and one of WWE’s head scouts and producers, has nine lives, with charges stemming from trying to get Rosa Mendes drunk to calling Mark Henry the “N-word” to just plain sexism.
He’s still with the company despite suspensions and has yet to be sufficiently reprimanded or let go.
All of this leaves me with a couple questions:
Who the heck is running the Public Relations department in the WWE…and will we see Damian Sandow in a satirical role as Emma the Shoplifter?
Stay tuned for more on Emma-Gate.
And don’t worry, Emma, you have a valid excuse. My Mom doesn’t know how to work the self-checkout machines either.