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Vince McMahon shuts down WWE talent ‘engaging with outside third parties’ (UPDATED)

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According to a report from Wrestling Inc, Vince McMahon has informed members of the WWE roster that they are no longer allowed to “engage with outside third parties” because some are doing it in a way that he claims is detrimental to the company.

This would seem to be related to platforms like Twitch, where many wrestlers have launched channels to build their personal brand. Bryan Alvarez noted the report from Inc is accurate and Vince is cracking down on “talent using Twitch, Tik Tok, etc.”

Inc got ahold of a letter McMahon sent to talent:

“Some of you are engaged with outside third parties using your name and likeness in ways that are detrimental to our company. It is imperative that these activities be terminated within the next 30 days (by Friday October 2). Continued violations will result in fines, suspension, or termination at WWE’s discretion.”

It’s unclear what exactly led to this, although the obvious speculation surrounds issues like AJ Styles revealing on his Twitch channel that he battled COVID-19. Renee Young recently confirmed the company wasn’t happy when she revealed her diagnosis.

As many have already pointed out, wrestlers in WWE are classified as independent contractors, so there are some legal questions here. For now, this is the mandate moving forward.

Update

WWE released the following statement on the matter:

“Much like Disney and Warner Bros., WWE creates, promotes and invests in its intellectual property, i.e. the stage names of performers like The Fiend Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Big E and Braun Strowman. It is the control and exploitation of these characters that allows WWE to drive revenue, which in turn enables the company to compensate performers at the highest levels in the sports entertainment industry. Notwithstanding the contractual language, it is imperative for the success of our company to protect our greatest assets and establish partnerships with third parties on a companywide basis, rather than at the individual level, which as a result will provide more value for all involved.”