The videos featured what appeared to be public sex in a wrestling ring and simulated rape, among other controversial images. Democrats criticized World Wrestling Entertainment entrepreneur Linda McMahon of Greenwich, who is running in a Republican primary for the right to face U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd in the November 2010 election.
WWE's CEO through September, McMahon is still a director and member of the executive committee, according to the organization's website.
"As WWE chief operating officer, Linda McMahon presided over programming that showed simulated rape, public sex, and necrophilia, and now she wants to be our U.S. senator?" asked Democratic spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan. "People across this state, not to mention the millions of women who are the victims of sexual violence every year, would be horrified and embarrassed to know that the person who seeks to represent them condones this kind of behavior. That kind of programming has no place in our society, and Linda McMahon has no place in the U.S. Senate."
Within hours of the criticism, the videos, at WWE's request, were taken down Friday afternoon.
McMahon's spokesman, Ed Patru, said Dodd and his supporters should be more interested in improving the economy than worrying about professional wrestling.
"Every American understands the difference between scripted television entertainment and real life betrayal of trust by Washington politicians," Patru said. "It's stunning that Chris Dodd's apologists are more concerned with television programming that isn't real than the senator's record of taking every bit of special interest cash he can find, providing taxpayer-funded bonuses to executives he was supposed to regulate, and falling asleep at the switch while the entire country's banking system crashed."
Dodd largely stayed out of the controversy when asked by The Courant Friday afternoon in Hartford about McMahon.
"I'll let the Republican opponents deal with her on that," Dodd said.
Dodd said Connecticut residents are more interested in keeping their jobs and receiving better health care than they are about political battles and wrestling.
"There's going to be plenty of time for all of that," he said. "In the meantime, I've got my work cut out for me. People might find that interesting reading. They're frankly not interested who the Republican nominee for the Senate is. ... I'll worry about the Republican opponent next year when the time comes."