Martha Hart, the widow of professional wrestler Owen Hart, who was killed in a May 1999 stunt orchestrated by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), is suing WWE, flamboyant CEO Vince McMahon and fomer CEO Linda McMahon, the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate from Connecticut.
The lawsuit alleges the WWE and the McMahons used Owen Hart's name and likeness without right in dozens of commercial videos and other materials, allegedly violating a contract restricting the use of Hart's name, likeness and wrestling footage.
Martha Hart says WWE's use of Hart's image violates her wishes against any association of her late husband's name with WWE following his death. Hart and WWE settled a wrongful death lawsuit in 2000. Hart established the Owen Hart Foundation later that year, per a statement.
"In the 11 years since Owen's tragic and avoidable death, I have worked tirelessly to disassociate Owen's name and likeness from anything related to WWE in order to protect our children from any reminder of the circumstances surrounding their father's death, and to avoid any misplaced perception that I endorse WWE," said Martha Hart in the statement.
"Unfortunately, even though WWE, Vince McMahon and Linda McMahon were and are well aware of my wishes and desire to shield my children from WWE and its activities, I was shocked to learn earlier this year that they have been using Owen's name and likeness in videos, websites, television programs and print materials. Given this callous, insensitive and irresponsible behavior, one must question the moral character of Vince and Linda McMahon and the manner in which they conduct their business."
Hart filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Hartford.