WWE's Morality clause: What does it mean for Paige and Xavier Woods?
What lies in store for Paige and Xavier Woods?
What’s the story?
Many fans have speculated that WWE Superstars Paige and Xavier Woods may have been in breach of the morality clause in their WWE contracts, following the release of Paige’s controversial images and videos.
The morality clause is located in Section 9.13(a) of the WWE booking contract and explains that if the WWE wrestlers do anything to damage their reputation in regards to public scandal, the company are within their rights to fire them.
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Several videos and images of Raw Women’s star Paige were released online, causing a lot of controversy on social media. The videos featured Paige engaging in sexual acts with former WWE Superstar Brad Maddox and Xavier Woods of The New Day.
Paige took to Twitter to inform people that these images were stolen and that she did not consent to these images being shared publicly. Maddox would delete all of his social media accounts following these leaks while Woods made a minor mention of it at the SXSW Gaming Awards.
This also lead to several fans of Paige taking to social media to show their support for her with the hashtag “IStandWithPaige.” Paige’s family also led the charge in defending her by taking to social media to show their support.
Private photos of Summer Rae have allegedly surfaced as well, but she has consistently denied their authenticity on Twitter. Other wrestlers have been implicated and are allegedly next on the hacker’s leak list, but no other current Superstars’ private photos or videos have been leaked so far.
The heart of the matter
The following is the entire morality clause that could lead to any type of punishment by the WWE if they chose to proceed in that manner:
“WRESTLER shall act at all times with due regard to public morals and conventions during the Term of this Agreement.
If WRESTLER shall have committed or shall commit any act or do anything that is or shall be an offense or violation involving moral turpitude under Federal, state or local laws, or which brings WRESTLER into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule, or which insults or offends the community or any employee, agent or affiliate of PROMOTER or which injures WRESTLER’s reputation in PROMOTER’s sole judgment, or diminishes the value of WRESTLER’s professional wrestling services to the public or PROMOTER, then at the time of any such act, or any time after PROMOTER learns of any such act, PROMOTER shall have the right to fine WRESTLER in an amount to be determined by PROMOTER; and PROMOTER shall have the right to immediately suspend WRESTLER and/or terminate this Agreement pursuant to Section 12.”
This clause makes mention to a general sense of morality but doesn’t specify whether intentional or unintentional breaches of the clause warrant termination or other punishment. Looking at it on a case by case basis, it seems to depend on the severity and the circumstances of the breach.
Hulk Hogan and Seth Rollins have been in similar situations and they were handled very differently. Both men were victims of private images and videos being leaked, but the Rollins situation was only a nude photograph of himself.
Hogan’s controversy had less to do with the sex tape that leaked and more with the racial slurs he used. Both constituted technical breaches of contract because lewdness and racial slurs are easily viewed as offensive and as per the clause, bring the wrestler into public contempt, ridicule, and scandal.
Though Woods and Paige were involved in a video together, one of the images with Paige displayed the NXT Women’s Championship where Woods was not in the picture.
The private photographs may have been a separate issue that might not have lead to punishment, but involving company property in those sexual acts could be viewed as an intentional breaching of the morality clause that wasn’t made public until the leaks.
SmackDown commentator Tom Phillips was involved in a much more minor case of his private life being exposed and hasn’t faced any punishment at all despite rumours circulating that the texts that Phillips sent came from a company issued phone.
Paige has yet to return to TV, so any punishment on her end will be pure speculation unless the company makes a formal announcement.
However, Woods is scheduled to host WrestleMania 33 with the rest of The New Day and could see some repercussions soon.
In this current situation, Woods doesn’t seem likely to suffer any severe punishment due to his merchandise sales and affiliation with one of the more popular acts on Monday Night Raw.
However, Paige could face some punishment due to her rumored heat with backstage officials as well as what took place between herself, Maddox, and the NXT Women’s Championship.
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