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April 14, 2020

Sheriff's Deputies Called To The WWE PC Over COVID-19 Order, Order Linked To Trump Super PAC?

The Orange County Sheriff's Department reportedly visited the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL several times over the last few weeks, in March and April, to tell the company that it was not in compliance with the "stay-at-home" Executive Order issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and that they had to shut the tapings down, according to Orlando reporters Jon Alba and Stephanie Coueignoux.

Alba reports that Orange County deputies were called again on Monday regarding the live RAW that aired on the USA Network. However, the new Executive Order from DeSantis, signed on April 9, already allowed for WWE to continue operations as an essential business. There's no word on who was calling the sheriff's department or how many calls they received since March. Coueignoux said deputies told her that on Monday "someone called to say there would be taping at the location that evening" and they responded to the Performance Center again before RAW, but the April 9 order allowed WWE to continue.

Governor DeSantis issued an amended Executive Order this past Thursday, April 9, that deemed WWE an essential business, allowing them to stay in business.

DeSantis said he feels the people need to support events if they can be done safely like NASCAR, and Woods-Mickelson. The Governor said, "Obviously WWE, there's no crowd or anything, so it's a very small number of people. So we just look at it at a case by case basis."

DeSantis was also asked specifically about essential businesses being given the OK to operate and WWE was used as the example, according to Alba. It was noted that DeSantis briefly touched the topic, then spoke at length on other sports he'd like to see back operating in the Sunshine State, emphasizing their importance. He then walked off the podium. Alba stressed that the amended order means just about any Florida sports league can resume operations now, but they're choosing not to. The NBA's Orlando Magic could hold a scrimmage game tomorrow if they wanted to.

Orange County, FL Mayor Jerry Demings revealed at a press conference how WWE was originally deemed non-essential, but that was changed after "some conversation" with DeSantis' officer in regards the stay-at-home order. Demings said then WWE was allowed to remain open, but he did not mention other sports leagues being included in that amended order. As noted in a later report on Monday, spokesperson from DeSantis office told ESPN on Monday evening that such services were deemed essential "because they are critical to Florida's economy."

On a related note, Alba and Coueignoux have pieced together a timeline that tries to link DeSantis deeming WWE essential to an announcement from the Super PAC to support the re-election of President Trump, which is ran by Linda McMahon. It should be noted that there is no evidence that the Super PAC ran by Linda had anything to do with WWE, and other sports leagues including AEW, being allowed to resume operations in the state of Florida. Alba and Coueignoux noted that the Super PAC ran by Linda committed $18.5 million for Trump's re-election campaign in the state of Florida on last Thursday, which was the same day Governor DeSantis named WWE and other sports leagues as essential. It was then announced on Friday, April 10 that WWE would resume live TV episodes from the Performance Center. Coueignoux noted that she reached out to DeSantis' office to ask how WWE is critical to Florida's economy. The Governor previously stated that pro sports are "critical to Florida's economy."

Coueignoux said she pointed out how WWE is currently running with no audience and only essential personnel. She asked what revenue is being generated and if so, how is it benefiting the people of Florida. She was still waiting on a statement back as of this writing. Coueignoux is speculating that politics were involved with WWE being deemed essential, as Linda previously served in Trump's Cabinet as head of the Small Business Administration and now runs the "America F1rst Action" pro-Trump Super PAC, but it should be noted that she is only speculating for now.


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