On September 5 it was reported Vince McMahon sent a message to talent, asking them to stop engaging on third-party platforms such as Cameo and Twitch. WWE confirmed the report and issued a statement on the matter, saying they were looking to protect their intellectual property and partner with third-party platforms on a company-wide basis.
In the statement, WWE likened their stance to that of Disney and Warner Bros, saying they create, promote, and invest in the intellectual property create on-screen.
Former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang doesn't believe that comparison holds any weight.
"I do not (think it's a fair comparison)," Yang told Chris Van Vliet. "There is no doubt in anyone's mind that a performer plays Belle from 'Beauty and the Beast.' That is not actually Belle, she does not live in a magic castle with the Beast. If the actress turns around and does something on her own accord, everyone knows it's talent for hire. With pro wrestlers, you inhabit a character, but you're still a human being and you should still be able to do things as any human would do. For example, make an appearance and show up on Cameo. The comparison is not very apt, in large part because the treatment is so dissident because on one hand you're saying, 'we have no responsibility for you' and on the other you're saying, 'we control your image and name in some cases and you can't do anything without our say so.' In a way, it's actually inhuman. It's saying, 'You're no longer a human being, you're this character.' Remember when (Vince) busted out Fake Razor Ramon and Fake Diesel? That's how he thinks about, 'I made you, I invented you.' Actually, they're two dudes, they work for your competitor and no one cares about these fake characters. Without the talent, those characters don't exist. Disney doesn't own Emma Watson. If they wanna compare themselves, they should rethink their values. If you look at Disney or Warner, they're members of the Screen Actors Guild and have tons of benefits. If you want to go that direction, you'd have to completely change how you treat your workers, which is a legitimate way to go and that would be one thing I would suggest. If you want to control the name and likeness, guess what, they should be part of a union or professionals association and should have benefits up to their eyeballs. Then you can have a conversation about their activity."
WWE has since clarified its stance, saying talent can use their real names on Twitch and YouTube, but they must inform WWE of their usage. Many wrestlers have already started to rebrand their Twitch channels under their real names or non-WWE names.
Elsewhere during the interview, Yang called WWE's practices "fucking greedy." You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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