WWE is reportedly taking over control of its wrestlers' Twitch accounts and keeping most of the revenue. That's greedy, even for WWE.
Last month, WWE brought the hammer down on its performers working with third-party companies. CEO Vince McMahon banned them from striking deals with other entities without permission. He also placed limits on what they can do on other platforms.
Now, the multi-billion-dollar company is allegedly taking over its wrestlers’ Twitch profiles.
According to multiple reports, WWE will snatch away control of their accounts on the streaming platform within the next few weeks. The wrestlers reportedly will only receive a percentage of their Twitch earnings. Even worse, that cut is said to count towards their downside guarantees — in other words, their base salaries.
WWE isn’t skimming the performers’ Twitch tip jars. It’s gobbling them up entirely. The wrestlers effectively may not make any money from streaming.
That would be an immensely greedy and gross move on the company’s part. Its wrestlers are defined as independent contractors. In any case, WWE should not have the right to earnings they make on their own time.
The performers are streaming on Twitch for their own enjoyment. Many are using it as another revenue stream or raising money for charity. WWE isn’t touring at the moment, so wrestlers are missing out on their cuts of box office revenue and in-person merchandise sales.
Some WWE wrestlers and other talents have thousands of Twitch subscribers. The highest earners rake in tens of thousands of dollars a month. Fairly soon, most, if not all, of that will be dropping into WWE’s bulging pocket.
Many WWE wrestlers are said to be “livid” about the situation. One of them told the Wrestling Observer:
This is amazing because it’s really going to open up the independent contractor issue. All these smart attorneys surrounding Vince and this is the battle he wants?
Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been vocal about WWE labor rights. He suggested that, if Joe Biden wins the presidential election, he’ll raise the independent contractor issue with the Secretary of Labor.
With regards to the latest reports, Yang wrote on Twitter:
This would be infuriating to me if I had spent time building up my social media channels only to have WWE take them over from their “independent contractors.” People are angry and rightfully so.
Yang also claimed he’s heard from wrestlers that WWE is trying to force them to sign new contracts that include language about Twitch. He said:
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.
Even though it’s not selling any live event tickets, WWE is in a decent spot financially.
The company is saving a shedload on touring costs. It’s raking in hundreds of millions of dollars a quarter from its TV deals and WWE Network streaming platform.
This is really about control. The company seemingly wants its so-called independent contractors to be as beholden to the company as possible.
That’s questionable, at best. What WWE is doing with its wrestlers’ Twitch accounts is daylight robbery.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.