Monday, March 20, 2023

Sexual misconduct isn’t a “mistake”

Vince McMahon is the former CEO and current Executive Chairman of the WWE. It's former CEO because he was forced to step down after it came to light that he had allegedly authorized $19.6 million in hush money payments to female employees who had accused him of sexual misconduct. (It's what earned McMahon his nomination for 2022's Worst Employer.) It's current Executive Chairman because he returned to that position earlier this year after previous stepping down for the same reason.

John Cena is a full-time actor and former WWE star who recently returned to the company. 

Consider the following recent Q&A between Cena and the Associated Press:

AP: Is it tough to reconcile the feelings you have toward Vince McMahon with the sexual misconduct accusations made against him? 

CENA: No. I mean, everyone has the right to have their perspective. I have the right to have mine. When you love somebody, you take them as imperfectly perfect as they are. We all make mistakes, we all have poor decisions. Lord knows I've made my collection of poor choices. That doesn't mean I’m not going to love somebody. There's no way I can go on record and say I don't love Vince McMahon.

Sexual misconduct is not a mistake. 

Let me say that again for the people in the back. Sexual misconduct is not a mistake.

Ask the victims of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, or Larry Nassar if what happened to them was a mistake, if their abuse should be excused, or if their abusers should be forgiven. "Mistake" suggests an act of negligence. Make no mistake, what Vince McMahon is accused of doing, and other sexual abusers do, is no mistake. It's an abuse of power by an authority figure. He allegedly targeted young, female subordinates for sex and paid them off to keep them quiet. 

This abuse is a lot of things (none of them good), but it definitely was not a mistake. To suggest otherwise excuses McMahon's misconduct and forgives McMahon, which is not Cena's (our our) choice to make. 

* Image by James, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons