The mother of WWE Hall of Famer Chyna took to Facebook this week and spoke out about an upcoming Reelz show that promises to reveal “the truth” on the 2016 death of the former WWE Women’s Champion.
Chyna’s death will be covered on the August 25 episode of “Autopsy: The Last Hours Of…” on the Reelz channel. The episode premieres at 10pm ET following an episode on the death of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez. It will then replay on Monday, August 26 at 1am ET.
Below is the synopsis for the episode:
“On April 20th 2016, professional wrestling legend Chyna died from an overdose in her Los Angeles apartment. Once celebrated as the ninth wonder of the world ? Chyna’s life unravelled after she left WWE and she became infamous as a casualty of drug and alcohol abuse. After a mysterious 4-year-long exile in Japan, Chyna returned to the US intent on reinventing herself ? only to die alone 9 months later at the age of just 46. In this episode, expert Coroner and Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Michael Hunter unpacks the secrets of Chyna’s autopsy report and together with accounts from friends, pieces together the truth about Chyna’s tragic death.”
Chyna’s mother, Jan LaQue, issued a lengthy Facebook post on the show and threatened legal action. (H/T to Pro Wrestling Sheet) Jan revealed that she is also taking legal action against the actress who is playing Chyna, Kerry Newton. She informed Newton of her intentions publicly on Newton’s Facebook page.
“I don’t know why so many people continue to be fascinated with the dark side and end of Joanie’s life rather than the positives about her life and pretend that they know the truth about what happened, and have the need to drag me, her mother, and my family through all of this dark conjecture over and over again. For that reason alone, the emotional distress (and therefore physical stress) this causes to me, not to mention not giving anyone clearance to anyone to use her likeness or private medical information, and the need for me to once again have more legal expenses, I am going to take legal action on this first thing in the morning. I have given Kerry my contact information in a separate FB message should she feel the need or want to contact me,” Jan wrote at the end of the post on her own Facebook page.
Jan also responded to fan comments on the matter. One fan asked why would someone want to tarnish the legacy of Chyna. She responded, “Well, I don’t get it either. But like everything else it’s just another way to cash in on her in her death. Appalling to me. Leave the girl and her family alone. It’s my job as her mother to protect her legacy as much as I can. Enough is enough. There are just too many vultures circling around.”
Another fan encouraged Jan to take legal action. Her response included a shot at the somewhat controversial Anthony Anzaldo, who once worked as Chyna’s manager. Jan wrote, “Even if they contacted Kathy, she does not have the rights that I have. I doubt though, that they contacted her. BUT – I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Anthony Anzaldo (the ex-manager) or Erik Angra or a couple of other people I’m thinking of had a part to play in this.”
Jan agreed with another fan who speculated that Anthony “is probably trying to make another money grab” with the show.
One reader stood up for the actress playing Chyna, Newton. The reader said Newton is innocent, and wondered why Jan is attacking her, adding that she’s going after the wrong person. They also accused Jan of looking for a “money grab” because of her “emotional distress” complaints. Jan responded, “I agree, Ryna, it’s a money grab by whoever is involved. And unfortunately that does include Kerry. Anyone who plays a person, dead or alive, should be sure to get the legalities in place prior to taking the role. And my statements about emotional distress are NOT complaints. They are statements, and tt’s just the way it is in a situiation like this. People shouldn’t comment on that unless they or their family have personally been through something silimar.”
Finally, another person in the comments suggested that Jan sue the production company behind the show. She replied, “That’s what I will be doing. I know it’s all about money. Everything usually is.”
Pro Wrestling Sheet adds that Jan e-mailed the producers over the weekend and wrote, “I want to make it clear to you, very very clear, that NO ONE ? NO ONE ? really knows what happened during Joanie’s final hours. So you can’t possibly air something on the supposed “Truth” because you don’t know it. I don’t know it!!”
She continued, “I expect a contact immediately back from you stating that you will not be airing this program. If I don’t hear from you by the end of the day on Monday, August 12th 2019, you will give me no other choice but to have my attorney contact you on this matter. So someone had better contact me on this ASAP.”
Jan sent another e-mail on Monday after not hearing back from the producers, threatening to also take legal action against the “expert Coroner” that was interviewed for the episode.
Jan also took issue with the actress mentioning on social media how she “had a blast” while filming the project, according to PWS. Jan wrote, “She had a BLAST filming it? How morbid and disgusting is that? How can you have a BLAST portraying a human being who died so tragically? How can you even consider taking on the role of playing her without checking with your lawyers on whether or not it was cleared by the estate? How can you not contact her mother prior to taking on the role? This is just unbelievable.”
She continued, “If you continue on with this and defame Chyna or tarnish her legacy in any way, you are really opening yourself up to defamation. Not to mention personal and emotional duress on the part of myself and her family because of what you are doing.”
Jan finished the last e-mail by writing, “You need to be VERY clear that as her mother and her sole beneficiary, I am going to vigorously defend my daughter and her estate, protect her legacy from vultures like you who want to drag it through the mud, and do whatever I can to stop you and those like you from making a buck off of her tragedy both now and in the future.”
A Reel representative issued a statement in response to an inquiry from PWS, but they did not mention Chyna or her mother directly. The statement reads like this:
“Autopsy: The Last Hours of? responsibly explores the circumstances of the passing of well-known and genuinely loved celebrities who the public cares about immensely. The REELZ series generates much feedback from our viewers ranging from fans who tell us it provides closure, medical professionals who praise its scientific accuracy and many who gain helpful perspective of health issues that might not otherwise receive attention like Karen Carpenter who brought anorexia into the public consciousness and, more recently, with Prince whose passing focused attention on the Opioid epidemic.”
You can see Jan’s full post below:
I wanted to let you know that I just became aware yesterday that there is going to be an episode on Chyna in Autopsy: Last hours of Chyna on Sunday 25th August on Reelz channel (USA channel) and also coming to Channel 5. I am not too happy about this, to say the least. I did not know about this “film” until yesterday, and I didn’t know until today that this Kerry Newton is playing my daughter.
The reason for this post is to be very clear that I have not given anyone permission to do this film about her or to use her likeness (which I own legally as her sole beneficiary) by someone playing her. I will be contacting my attorneys tomorrow morning. I will speak to them about several issues: the unlawful use of my daughter’s likeness, about grounds for potential defamation of Joanie or me or anyone in her family, the inappropriate release of any private medical records, and the emotional/physical distress this causes me.
Whatever happened in her last hours is just that, supposition and conjecture. Not the truth as no one knows that, not even me. And certainly NOT Kerry and whoever is producing this supposed film. So anyone and everyone connected with this film, including these supposed friends that they interviewed to produce whatever they’ve produced, needs to be put on notice, warned, and informed that I am going to take legal action on this. And that includes Kerry. And I have informed Kerry publically on her FB page that she need to inform those who have had a part to play in the making of this film.
I don’t know why so many people continue to be fascinated with the dark side and end of Joanie’s life rather than the positives about her life and pretend that they know the truth about what happened, and have the need to drag me, her mother, and my family through all of this dark conjecture over and over again. For that reason alone, the emotional distress (and therefore physical stress) this causes to me, not to mention not giving anyone clearance to anyone to use her likeness or private medical information, and the need for me to once again have more legal expenses, I am going to take legal action on this first thing in the morning. I have given Kerry my contact information in a separate FB message should she feel the need or want to contact me.