HBO Late-Night Host John Oliver Shoots on WWE for Pandemic Filming
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver is back at it again, shooting on WWE for continuing to film wrestling shows during the pandemic. Oliver blasted the company for its decision to film shows under an "essential" designation in Florida, a designation obtained the same day that a super Pac controlled by Linda McMahon pledged to spend $18.5 million in the state. Oliver also mentioned that both AEW and UFC are also holding shows in Florida, and referenced the report that a person claiming to be a WWE employee said the company is forcing people to work and that they are unable to maintain proper social distancing. A transcription of the segment from 411 Wrestling goes into detail:
The state of Florida earlier on designated professional sports and media production with a national audience as essential service so long as it's closed to the general public. So the WWE has continued staging shows in Florida, holding matches in front of empty chairs, but that requires a lot more people than just those two wrestlers. You need production crews working together in close proximity. And while the WWE maintains its safety measures are as comprehensive as they can possibly be, one employee wrote an anonymous letter to a Florida county commissioner asking them to shut the tapings down because 'despite sanitary precautions, we cannot maintain social distancing and have to touch other people.' But it's easy to see why CEO Vince McMahon doesn't mind them taking that risk, as he told investors on a recent earnings call, viewers want to see new matches.
John Oliver has gone after WWE before, attacking the company's working conditions, particularly the designation of wrestlers as independent contractors despite them meeting most reasonable definitions of employees. Oliver has also gone after the company for its association with the government of Saudi Arabia. WWE invited Oliver to come settle the score at WrestleMania after his first set of reports, but Oliver, perhaps having seen an early copy of the David Schultz episode of Dark Side of the Ring, declined the invitation. Watch the video below.