The United States District Court in Arizona rejected a petition by WWE to transfer former producer Andrew Green's lawsuit against the company and The Big Show to a federal court. WWE argued that the lawsuit fell under federal law because the allegations involved a video that was posted on the company's website. The judge noted that the charges in the lawsuit from Green centered around "freedom from ridicule and emotional distress," which are "qualitatively different from copyright rights." The judge stated that "this additional element of emotional harm, due not to unauthorized use but widespread humiliation, changes the nature of the action from a copyright claim to a separate state-law tort claim."
Green and his wife are seeking damages for assault and negligence after claiming that he was struck by Wight while trying to conduct an interview with him following The Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 27th of this year. Green claims that he was asked to interview Wight for WWE.com, and Wight refused until Green mentioned that former WWE Senior VP of Creative and Development Eric Pankowski wanted him to do the interview. Wight then started using profane language and asked Green to turn the camera on.
From the complaint:
"Big Show toward Green enraged, shouting obscenities, and waving his fist in Green's face. Big Show then grabbed Green by the collar and throat, striking Green in the face and backing him up against a trunk while declaring 'You son of a b---h ... Are you having fun right now ... Don't even come up to me again ... I don't give a s--t who you are'."
The interview was allegedly re-shot at Wight's request, which featured Wight simply walking away. Triple H then asked for the interview to be re-shot a third time.
"Triple H asked Big Show to muster the same emotional level for the third interview as he had with the original shoot, that being the attack," the complaint reads. "In response, Big Show said that he did not think he would be able to do that because his emotions in the original shoot had been real."
The interview ended up being re-shot for a third time, but Green claims that Pankowski ended up going with the first interview, which remained on WWE.com until January 29th. Green claimed that he could no longer work for the company after that date because "he was uncomfortable working around Big Show and the other wrestlers, nervous, and had 'a ton of anxiety' as a result of the attack."
Green alleges that WWE had previously "suspended or terminated Big Show's employment because of his behavior, including his engagement in violent and/or unlawful and/or improper activities outside of the wrestling venue." He also said that the company "encouraged its wrestlers, including Big Show, to act in a violent and threatening manner both inside and outside of the wrestling ring relative to their appearances and participation in staged wrestling events as a means of entertainment."