WWE has issued a lengthy response to Martha Hart following an interview she did with CBS Sports about the death of her late husband Owen Hart. WWE's statements are shown below in different parts after statements made by Martha.
"I'm just one individual and the WWE is a PR powerhouse," Martha said during the interview. "They've always had the upper hand with getting their message and their side of things out. This episode really provided the opportunity to tell the real story and tell how I had the biggest fight of my life. It was a real David and Goliath battle and how awful they were to me and how disrespectful they were to Owen."
Martha said that the entire stunt with Owen was done wrong and everything was negligent because they hired "hackers" that would do anything. She noted that the harness used was meant for dragging people behind a car and it was not meant to suspend someone 80 feet above the ground.
She also noted that Owen's circulation was cut off while he was sitting in the harness and it had a sailboat clip and a snap shackle that was not meant for rigging humans.
Martha continued, "Owen never questioned his safety. He thought for sure they were hiring people that knew what they were doing. He was putting his life in their hands, and they didn't care. They didn't have any regard for Owen's life whatsoever. They went outside of qualified riggers that had good experience."
WWE responded: "The reality is, we've never told our side of the story of what happened -- at least not outside of court. We told it in court, but when she talks about the way the lawsuit unfolded over the years, it really isn't accurate what she's saying. What she did whenever this happened is, she hired a lawyer in Kansas City who we caught essentially trying to fix the judicial selection process to get a judge that was more to their liking. We caught them and went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court. The Missouri Supreme Court said, 'No, no, no. We're not going to let that happen.' They essentially appointed an independent judge to come in from outside of Kansas City to oversee the proceedings. We were basically trying to find out what happened that night. Martha was not even remotely interested in finding out what happened that night; she just wanted to used it as a vehicle to beat up a business that she didn't like that her husband was in, the wrestling business."
Continuing with Martha's interview, she said the following about WWE's decision to continue with the show after Owen died: "When Owen died, they scooped him out like a piece of garbage and they paraded wrestlers out to wrestle in a ring that had Owen's blood, where the boards were broken from Owen's fall and where the guys could feel the dip in the ring from where he fell. Just that disrespect and lack of respect for a human life that had just been lost"
She also said it was "appalling" that the show continued and she called Vince McMahon a "poor leader" and he failed as his talent were looking for leadership.
Martha also said that Vince McMahon manipulated Owen's family members to work against her. She added that the family did not support the lawsuit and some worked against her and legal documents that she sent were stolen and sent to the defense. Martha also said that Vince and WWE were muddying the waters by doing this.
WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt responded to this claim:
"Her and her lawyer, in reality, had tried to get the members of the Hart family, Owen's brothers and sisters, to sign a document in which they would agree to support Martha and her case and they would not talk to WWE. In exchange for that, they were all promised a share of any verdict or settlement, which is highly illegal, completely improper and you can get in big trouble for that. What happened was some of the members of the Hart family were offended by this because they realized this was wrong. ... They knew this was wrong and they faxed me those documents, which I fell out of the chair when I read them. I was like, 'You've got to be kidding me. This is completely illegal, you can't do this stuff.' All of that was then brought to the attention of the judge in Kansas City."
Last week on Chris Jericho's podcast, Martha said she realized that there would be no real justice for Owen because nobody would be going to jail. Eventually, a settlement was reached for $18 million.
WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt issued the following response to Martha's comments about the settlement:
"She talked about how $18 million settlement, she didn't really want to do that, she wanted justice. Again, that's just not true. There was court-ordered mediation. We went to the mediation, and her lawyers were demanding $35 million and some admission of punitive damages. Vince told her right there, 'Look, Martha, I feel so bad for what happened. I feel responsible because this happened on my watch. I want to take care of you and your family, I loved Owen.' He was almost crying. We offered $17 million to take care of her. How many times does a CEO walk in a room and say he feels responsible? 'I'm not going to argue, I just feel responsible for what happened.' They turned it down; they wanted to go to court for their $35 million. Fine, we'll go and litigate. The next day, I get a call from her Canadian lawyer, saying they didn't want to do it because they knew what they were facing with the other things I talked about. They said, 'If you could put a little more money in. If you can go to $18 million we'll settle right now.' That's how the settlement went down."
Martha concluded by saying that she no longer holds a grudge against anyone. She said, "The Hart family, Vince McMahon, I don't hold any grudges. I hope life has been kind to all of them. My life hasn't been easy, and I certainly wouldn't wish harm on anyone."
She also added that while she tells her children to be polite to Owen's family, she and the kids will not have a relationship with them because there was irreparable damage done.
Martha will appear tomorrow night on Vice TV's "Dark Side of the Ring."