Central Florida reporter Jon Alba, who along with Stephanie Coueignoux has done most of the digging on the story of WWE gaining essential business status under Florida’s stay-at-home order, shared this clip from the Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting this morning (Tues., April 21).
In it, a county official reads a public comment submitted by someone who claims to be a WWE employee. Here’s Alba’s clip of the comment, and our transcription.
At Tuesday's Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting, a #WWE employee named "John" submitted public comment they're being "forced to work" TV tapings despite stay at home orders. Says he's unable to speak out and feels he will be fired if he approaches his higher-ups. pic.twitter.com/UJTvX1RGc7— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) April 21, 2020
“This is from a speaker named John:
‘My employer World Wrestling Entertainment, aka WWE, is forcing me to work the TV tapings for its weekly shows despite stay-at-home orders for coronavirus. I am unable to speak out, as I need this job and I know I will be fired if I approach my higher-ups. Despite sanitary precautions, we can not maintain social distancing and have to touch other people. I request the government to shut down these tapings and enforce the stay-at-home order so my colleagues and I may follow social distancing rules without fear or repercussion of losing our jobs.’”
WWE has maintained that employees who aren’t comfortable with working during the pandemic can opt out without fear of that decision having a negative impact on their career. Whoever “John” is clearly doesn’t believe them.
There are plenty of questions here, mainly what Orange County can do if the state says WWE is conducting essential business. This comment is obviously already getting media attention, but the story of WWE continuing to produce television during the COVID-19 crisis has already received a great deal of coverage, and that pressure hasn’t led to any significant changes to the company’s plans yet.
We’ll see if “John” is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.