Andrew Yang Calls WWE’s Classification Of Independent Contractors ‘Ridiculous’
Photo by DNCC via Getty Images
Andrew Yang wants to do whatever it takes to get workers the benefits they expect from their employers—and that includes professional wrestlers.
Yang appeared on CNN last night and was asked about the potential of him lobbying for the United States Secretary Of Labor position after a recent Tweet of his calling out WWE was shown. Friday night, Yang lambasted WWE for its classification of superstars as independent contracts. Yang said that if he isn’t Secretary of Labor in the future, he’s sure he’d have their phone number to discuss the ridiculous way WWE is treating talent. Earlier that day, a report surfaced that included a letter from Vince McMahon pushing talent to cease using “outside third parties” like Cameo and Twitch as it uses their “name and likeness in ways that are detrimental to our company.”
During the CNN appearance, Yang said if he was picked for the Labor position, he would do “whatever Joe and Kamala want me to do to help us to get to the next page in our country’s history.”
“The post you’re talking about was my categorizing the misclassification of professional wrestlers as independent contractors, which is completely ridiculous, given that the WWE controls their name and likeness for years, and controls their activities in many ways. But anything that Joe and Kamala have for me that they think will help move the country forward, I would love to help.”
Yang says we need to get people benefits associated with full-time jobs. It’s not the same situation as it was decades ago where people stay at the same job for life. He added that “we’re way behind the curve” on getting people the benefits you’d expect them to have through their employers.
WWE’s letter also included a warning to talent that they need to stop using third-party services within 30 days (October 2) or they will face fines, suspension, or termination at WWE’s discretion.
WWE has since issued the following statement in regards to the initial report:
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.
“We have to try to get people the benefits that were associated with full-time jobs in different ways.” —@AndrewYang tells me what he would do if he became Biden/Harris' Labor Secretary. pic.twitter.com/oH715J0biG
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) September 6, 2020