2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is claiming that World Wrestling Entertainment talent is telling him privately that the company is making them sign new contracts that will include streaming on Twitch as part of a work obligation.
“Hearing from talent that WWE is forcing performers to sign new contracts that include Twitch,” Yang wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Yang, who is the founder of the non-profit Humanity Forward, which promotes a “universal basic income” (a regular monthly stipend provided by the government) in the United States, has been paying close attention to what the WWE has been saying to talent over the last month in relation to activities outside of work.
He has said in a number of interviews and on social media that if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the election in November he will ask the Department of Labor to look into how WWE treats its employees on a number of fronts. Yang’s interest in wrestling and the well-being of wrestlers stems from being a self-described long-time fan.
The Esports Observer could not independently confirm Yang’s claims at the time of writing.
On Thursday, Yang sympathized with talent who had been told that their Twitch accounts would be taken over by the company in four weeks.
“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 wrote.
WWE’s move towards cracking down on talent using third-party platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok, began in early September when the company told them that they would have to stop using them at the beginning of October. The company later clarified that this did not apply to talent using their “real names” to stream.
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