WWE "set the record straight" via WWE.com Tuesday regarding its programming and storylines following a negative blog post by Colin McEnroe of the Hartford Courant concerning the mentally challenged character Eugene, who appeared for the organization from 2004 to 2007 and once in 2009. Darien Times writer Joshua Fisher stated in an editorial last week blistering Linda McMahon's United States Senate campaign that her job creation method included making fun of retarded men, which led McEnroe to describe the former character in an editorial.
He wrote, "Eugene is a mentally retarded WWE character who is, unmistakably, played for laughs. In [the following video], we see him strolling a stadium corner, ogling a skin mag and sporting a huge "my name is Eugene" name tag. He walks into the women's locker room and "hilarity" ensues. Entirely at his expense. In its latest "how dare you" letter to a Connecticut newspaper, the WWE argues that Eugene is an underdog who repeatedly triumphs. Maybe. That does not change the fact that his mental retardation is essentially a comic device.
"If a video like the one above-linked or the one below surfaced in connection with any other campaign, the candidate would have some serious 'splainin' to do. Somehow, because she is associated with so many hundreds of dehumanizing videos, Linda McMahon is inoculated against the shame of any one of them. The thing to remember is that, solely on the strength of a career of spewing out this boorish dross, she claims to deserve one of this nation's 100 Senate seats."
McEnroe also enclosed a video of Eugene exclaiming "I want to see her boobies!" to Diva Search contestant Carmella DeCesare on a 2004 episode of Raw.
WWE responded, "It is clear, based on Mr. McEnroe's latest blog post, that he does not understand WWE's programming. Like Hollywood movies and Broadway shows, it is an exciting blend of action, characters and fictional storylines of good versus evil that entertains millions weekly. His assertion that the Eugene character was "essentially a comic device" is inaccurate and lacks total perspective."
In their statement, WWE enclosed a video of the man behind Eugene, Nick Dinsmore, offering a "truthful portrayal" of the character. The sports entertainment organization adds, "We will continue to implore the media to make accurate descriptions of our characters and storylines versus taking sound bites, scenes and footage out of context that mischaracterizes WWE's content."
Dinsmore states in the video, "Hi, my name is Nick Dinsmore, and for five years I had the privilege of playing a character on WWE television, Eugene.
"The character Eugene was unique in the fact that he was a person with special needs. The WWE has and continues to showcase a wide variety of characters and a fictious WWE Universe. This WWE Universe comes to you each and every week and entertains millions and millions of fans.
"When I was playing the role of Eugene, I wanted to display a character that had not only special needs, but incredible qualities; honesty, strength, very playful, quite naïve at times. But my favorite quality was his heart and desire. He went after his dreams and achieved at any cost and didn't let anything stand in his way.
"Once the fans started to see that he could live his dream, he was winning championships, he was meeting his idols, more and more people cheered for Eugene and wanted to see him succeed. No different than in the movie Forrest Gump when he started to do good for himself, everybody cheered him on, everybody wanted him to do better. Eugene's no different and the people treated him the same way, they wanted to see him succeed. I'm proud that I got to portray a true hero.
"Eugene had a lot of forces, a lot of "bad guys" against him. Probably the meanest, nastiest, dirtiest, devious of them all was the sinister character Mr. McMahon. But even with all those forces against him, Eugene always came out on top—even pinned Mr. McMahon one time.
"I'm proud to have been a part of the WWE, an organization that has the commitment to individuals with special needs. WWE is a proud supporter of The Arc (the world's largest community-based organization of and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities), Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Special Olympics.
"Nobody ever really came up to me and said, "Oh you're doing a bad thing, oh, I can't believe you did this." If anything, I got a lot of positive affirmation. I met several people with special needs and without a doubt, they would always run to me and just want to hug me. That one instance for them to be able to meet what I hope would be their hero is a little bit indescribable and is an incredible feeling.
"Characters like that have to overcome adversities and face everyday challenges, and they always come out on top.
"It's Hollywood, where the good guys always win!"