In that latest ridiculous update to an already totally insane story, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has broken the latest news about WWE's plans to reign in all independent Twitch streaming, and Cameo video making by talent and force them to perform both as job duties, with WWE keeping all the profits. According to Yang, who is slowly transitioning to a full-time dirt sheet reporter, WWE is now forcing talent to sign new contracts that include the above duties.
"Hearing from talent that WWE is forcing performers to sign new contracts that include twitch," Yang tweeted. "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."
The story first broke back in September that WWE ordered talent to cease engaging in third party deals, which soon became clear to mean Twitch and Cameo. Both services allow wrestlers to make money, something they're inhibited from doing due to the coronavirus pandemic cutting off the live event market, which also affects merchandise sales, autograph signings, and other ways wrestlers were previously able to supplement their income. WWE's argument is that they own the names, likenesses, and apparently personalities of their wrestlers, who are nominally independent contractors even though such an argument seems outrageously contrary to the concept.
WWE soon appeared to back off, saying talent could maintain these accounts if they used their real names and not WWE trademarked character names, which happened after Yang threatened to sic the federal government on WWE if Joe Biden wins the presidential election against WWE Hall-of-Famer President Donald Trump. But then they seemed to go back on that again this week, with a new report revealing that talent have until the end of the month to shut down their Twitch and Cameo deals. WWE will then set up accounts through Twitch and Cameo, and wrestlers can work through WWE to continue those activities. However, WWE will only offer a share of the revenue, which will count against talent's downside guarantees.
A downside guarantee is the minimum amount WWE's independent contractors are guaranteed to make even without appearance fees. Normally, money made from live events would count against the guarantee, though talent can (and usually do) make more money after that. Not without live events, though. Twitch and Cameo were an answer for that. However, according to the dirt making its way around the sheets, many performers feel that the new equation will likely mean that they will now make only their downside guarantee, with WWE keeping the profits, since their cut of the revenue won't exceed the downside guarantee.
In other words, instead of talent getting the money, WWE will keep the money, and they'll just pay the wrestlers what they were paying them anyway in most cases. Obviously, this greatly disincentivizes doing Twitch and especially Cameo, which is why, according to Andrew Yang, WWE now wants to force talent to sign new contracts agreeing to do it. And apparently, even wrestlers who weren't doing Twitch or Cameo before would now be expected to do it.
At press time, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Marriane Williamson could not be reached for comment, though a representative of the Bernie Sanders campaign did tell us that it's outrageous that 99% of the wealth in WWE belongs to 1% of the carnies.