“Anything created in TNA belongs to TNA”
ORALNDO, FL – Anthem Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of TNA Impact Wrestling, has claimed they have full custody of all three children of Matt and Jeff Hardy.
The announcement follows Anthem’s claims last week that they also own the rights to the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick because, as the contract states, anything created in TNA belongs to TNA no matter who came up with it.
“The Hardy children were created while Matt and Jeff were in TNA,” stated Anthem in two legal letters sent separately to Matt (and wife Reby Sky) and Jeff (and wife Beth Britt). “And contractually anything created by contracted performers while in TNA is owned 100% by Anthem. This includes both intellectual property AND human beings.”
Jeff Hardy’s two daughters, Ruby (born in 2010) and Nera (born in 2015), were conceived while Jeff was under contract to TNA. Matt Hardy’s son Maxel (born in 2015) was also conceived while Matt was under contract to TNA. By Florida law, this may make all three children the sole property of Anthem until they turn 18.
Matt Hardy’s wife Reby Sky, who has been outspoken against Anthem regarding ownership of the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick, continued to voice her opinions against the company on Twitter.
“Anthem thinks they’re gonna get their hands on MY son?? Just try & take him, motherf*ckers! U’ll have to pry him from my cold, dead hands!” she tweeted.
Jeff Hardy’s wife Beth Britt, who had remained silent on legal matters until now, also railed against the parent company of TNA.
“There’s an old saying in the rasslin business: do NOT mess with a person’s family! Ruby & Nera are MINE and TNA will take them OVER MY DEAD BODY!!” tweeted Beth Hardy.
Legal experts say Beth Hardy may indeed have a valid claim of retaining custody of her daughters, as she was never under contract to TNA. But Reby, however, may have to turn over her son Maxel since she was also under contract to TNA at the time of his conception in late 2014.
“Both Matt and Reby were working for TNA when Maxel was conceived, so Maxel may end up under TNA custody,” said Jerome Trent, a legal expert on family law in Florida. “It depends on if the courts define the creation of life at conception or at birth, but either way, it doesn’t look good for them.”
Even if Beth retains custody of Ruby and Nera, it may only be 50% custody.
“Beth’s situation is different,” continued Trent. “She wasn’t under contract, but Jeff was. So if TNA wanted to pursue 50/50 custody of both girls, they might end up with her for a couple of days during the week, plus alternate weekends. It’s very much looking like a nasty divorce custody battle, unfortunately.”
It is said both Matt and Jeff Hardy are choosing to remain silent about the controversy, consulting diligently with their attorneys before saying anything publicly. However, the outcome of this legal issue has long-term repercussions to both Hardys.
“(Matt and Jeff) are under contract to ROH for another month or so,” said Dave Meltzer, editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. “Part of the appeal of the indies is they’d get to spend more time at home with their kids. But if those kids end up with Anthem, then the Hardys really don’t have a reason to stay home and would theoretically be freed up to go on the road with WWE full-time.”
“The Hardys may lose this battle,” continued Meltzer, “but the fans will win because they’ll get to see them more.”
Bubba Ray Dudley, who just signed with ROH as Bully Ray (a gimmick created in TNA, but one which he wisely trademarked himself) expressed his sympathy for the Hardys but also offered hope.
“I went through this sh*t with WWE when they tried to murder me and Devon when they claimed they owned the copyrights to our lives,” he said when reached for comment. “But I think it’s a blessing in disguise. What if the Hardys agree to turn over their children in exchange for the copyrights to the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick? Anything is possible. Alternatively, they could voluntarily agree to give Anthem all rights to the gimmick in exchange for keeping their own kids? It’s f*cked up, but I don’t see any other way out.”
Other fans we spoke to said that even if Anthem can lay legal claim to the Hardys’ children, they should just let it go for the sake of the fans. Indeed, TNA came off as heels when they prevented Matt and Jeff from using the Broken Hardys gimmick in ROH, prompting fans to chant “F*ck TNA!” Further pursuing their children could permanently damage their good graces with fans.
“If Anthem takes their kids, then I’m taking MY money… elsewhere,” said Rob Longson, a longtime regular at TNA tapings for over a decade. “I cannot support any company that breaks up families.”
Ryan Satin, who runs Pro Wrestling Sheet, was so disgusted with Anthem’s actions that he threatened to expose TNA on TMZ. Satin used to work for TMZ and still has several contacts there who he said would gladly publish stories that would make TNA look really bad to the general public.
“I got their back,” said Satin of the Hardy family. “TNA makes one move, and TMZ’s all over this. Bring it.”
The losers in all of this, as with any custody battle, are the children.
“TNA couldn’t do anything with Flair, Hogan, Bischoff, Sting, Foley, you name it,” said Bully Ray. “If those kids are raised by that company, they’ll be drug addicted delinquents by the time they’re 14 years old.”
Dixie Carter, who ran TNA for years in the past, offered to raise the children herself, but no longer has any power in the company. Billy Corgan, who at one point thought he would end up with TNA before Anthem purchased it, said he was too busy to raise three children but did offer to create a trust fund or donate money to help with daycare expenses.
Vince Russo, who many say was responsible for WCW and later TNA losing several million dollars, was ruled incompetent to raise children or book pro wrestling by a Federal judge in late 2014 when he parted ways with TNA.