Former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been a persistent critic of WWE’s updated policy on its wrestler’s third-party relationships with online services like Cameo & Twitch. That’s not only been bad PR, it could mean government regulation if Yang ends up in a Presidentially-appointed position next year.
There’s a long way to go before we know who’s making those appointments in 2021, though. In the meantime, Yang is staying on the case. He already commented on the latest reports of WWE taking over Twitch accounts and counting revenue from them against wrestler’s guaranteed minimum compensation. Now he’s learning new details about what’s going on from folks on the inside:
Hearing from talent that WWE is forcing performers to sign new contracts that include twitch. Streaming on twitch will become a work obligation and if talent doesn’t stream they will forego earnings, be suspended or face penalties. Doesn’t sound like independent contractors.— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) October 2, 2020
I’m no labor lawyer, but I’m not even sure how it’s possible to force workers with existing contracts to sign new ones.
But, if true, WWE is essentially calling talent’s bluff. They can walk away, or try to fight if they want. Otherwise, they can take the path of least resistance - sign, start streaming like it’s part of your job (with Vince McMahon and team likely pitching online engagement as a replacement for the work they would be doing on house shows in a normal year), and collect a six figure paycheck.
We’ll see what most of them decide. If they choose to fight, it seems they have a political ally in Yang.