by Peyton Wesner
One week after the release of numerous in-ring talent, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) continues to deal with issues related to its handling of coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Tuesday at the Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting, a WWE employee named John issued a public comment regarding the work conditions.
“My employer, World Wrestling Entertainment, aka WWE, is forcing me to work the TV tapings for its weekly shows despite home orders for coronavirus,” the statement read. “I am unable to speak out as I need this job and I know I will be fired if I approach my higher-ups.
“Despite sanitary precautions, we cannot maintain social distancing and have to touch other people. I request the government to shut down these tapings and enforce the stay-at-home order so my colleagues and I may follow social distancing rules without fear or repercussion of losing our jobs.”
Florida has become a hot spot for COVID-19 discussion and debate this month. On April 2, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a “Safer at Home” stay-at-home order that shuttered non-essential businesses. Twelve days later WWE and professional wrestling were deemed essential business by DeSantis.
Since then, WWE has dealt with an adjusted taping schedule and ill employees. Still, tonight WWE NXT will emanate live from Orange County, Florida. And, employees such as John will be supporting the broadcast.
“These accusations aren’t true. Employees know they can confidentially go to Human Resources, not the public,” WWE said in a statement to PWinsider.com. “Notwithstanding the appropriate protocol, no one would be fired if they were uncomfortable with their surroundings. We’ve made accommodations for individuals upon request.”
Pro wrestling is the only entity in sports and sports entertainment still operating. Mixed martial arts was the last organized sport in North America to bow out as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hosted a fight night in Brasilia, Brazil, on March 14.
DeSantis’ motivation is clearly sports-related.
“If NASCAR does a race and can televise it without having large crowds, I think that’s a good thing,” DeSantis said. “To put that on TV, I think people have been starved for content.”
WWE CEO Vince McMahon is dealing with legal issues from his other sports venture, the XFL. XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck has sued McMahon in a wrongful termination lawsuit.
It is presently unknown of the possible legal ramifications for WWE from this ongoing development regarding its employees.