Stars of the wrestling world have backed TV host John Oliver after his segment on WWE's alleged lack of care for its wrestlers.
In the Last Week Tonight bit, the presenter railed against the organisation and its boss Vince McMahon, saying that because the stars are independent contractors, the company has less responsibility for the wrestlers' health.
"While the character Vince is an asshole, it's important to know that the real Vince is also an asshole," Oliver began. "And many fans legitimately hate him because, while the WWE has made him a billionaire, many wrestlers say he's treated them terribly."
He went on to claim: "Maybe when wrestlers might work years ago for multiple, different organisations, it made sense to call them contractors.
"But now that the WWE has a chokehold on this industry, it makes just as much sense to call them that as it does to call Jimmy Carter a 'panty-dropping f**k machine.' It's just clearly not true... anymore."
Many wrestling stars have now rallied behind Oliver, including CM Punk, who tweeted: "I shit my britches, please RT @LastWeekTonight (I love you!)"
- Coach (@CMPunk) April 1, 2019
Gail Kim-Irvine said: "Will trolls call him bitter too? Sometimes you gotta hear it from an outside source. One who is precisely accurate."
Will trolls call him bitter too? Sometimes you gotta hear it from an outside source. One who is precisely accurate https://t.co/Pun9cIVpgW
- Gail Kim-Irvine (@gailkimITSME) April 1, 2019
More stars weighed in too:
- Chavo Guerrero jr. (@mexwarrior) April 1, 2019
ESPN contacted me on doing a story about concussions for e60 years ago. I told them that wasn’t the story. The story was on “independent contractors”.
Congrats to @iamjohnoliver & #lastweektonite for their great piece & I hope it gets people taking.
- Colt Cabana (@ColtCabana) April 1, 2019
and to clarify, I'm not trying to encourage "this company's bad, this company's good" mud slinging or nit picking. just encouraging folks to support alternatives since the competition for your interest will create positive outcomes for wrestlers across the board.
- HANGMAN PAGE (@theAdamPage) April 1, 2019
WWE has since responded to Oliver, saying in a statement: "John Oliver is clearly a clever and humorous entertainer, however the subject matter covered in his WWE segment is no laughing matter.
"Prior to airing, WWE responded to his producers refuting every point in his one-sided presentation. John Oliver simply ignored the facts.
"The health and wellness of our performers is the single most important aspect of our business, and we have a comprehensive, long-standing Talent Wellness programme. We invite John Oliver to attend WrestleMania this Sunday to learn more about our company."
The segment comes ahead of the WWE's biggest event of the year, WrestleMania, which takes place on Sunday (April 7).
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