UPDATE: Since the this report came out, Paige has changed her Twitch username from “OfficialPageWWE” to “SarayaOfficial” and WWE commentator Mike Rome said on his Twitch stream that WWE performers will be scrubbing WWE references and trademarks from their channels, implying they will still be able to operate them. Information on the original report can still be found below.
Vince McMahon has ordered WWE talent to stop promoting themselves using third party platforms such as Twitch and Cameo in a company memo. WWE Superstars must comply within the next 30 days. McMahon threatened fines and even termination for wrestlers who don’t comply.
While it is unclear what “third party” means in this context, this could have a huge effect on many current WWE wrestlers. Xavier Woods hosts a long-running gaming YouTube channel that has 2.2 million subscribers. Several other wrestlers, like AJ Styles, host Twitch streams regularly. Big E is a national treasure on Cameo, and even advertises his account on his ring gear.
According to the report, WWE is arguing they own the wrestlers’ real names in addition to their character’s names, and Vince McMahon said the following:
Some of you are engaged with outside third parties using your name and likeness in ways that are detrimental to our company. It is imperative that these activities be terminated within the next 30 days. Continued violations will result in fines, suspension, or termination at WWE’s discretion.
This is an extremely harsh decision by WWE, and it’s worth asking if this is even legal, as WWE ostensibly does not actually own wrestlers’ real names. Wrestlers under WWE contract are also infamously classified as “independent contractors”, so it’s likely an uphill battle to justify this type of control over wrestlers’ free time. It may be possible to prevent them from using their characters’ names as they are trademarked, but it’s questionable whether WWE can punish wrestlers for streaming or uploading videos using their real names.
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