Despite the coronavirus pandemic shutting down every major sport in the country, the WWE has continued on with weekly television programs emenating from the empty WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. And while there was initially push back from local authorities, Florida state officials eventually recognized pro wrestling as an "essential service," giving the promotion the green light to continue with churning out product. However on Tuesday an anonymous employee going by the name John reached out to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners with a plea for state officials to shut down WWE's tapings at the Performance Center.
The employee claimed they were being "forced to work" the tapings, and that they would be fired if they asked their employers to leave.
"'My employer World Wrestling Entertainment, aka WWE, is forcing me to work the TV tapings for its weekly shows despite stay-at-home orders for coronavirus,'" the anonymous employee's 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 can not 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.'"
At Tuesday's Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting, a #WWE employee named "John" submitted public comment they're being "forced to work" TV tapings despite stay at home orders. Says he's unable to speak out and feels he will be fired if he approaches his higher-ups. pic.twitter.com/UJTvX1RGc7— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) April 21, 2020
WWE has maintained that anyone who does not feel comfortable working at the Performance Center during the pandemic can leave without any punishment. Wrestling insider @WrestleVotes put out a tweet shortly after the report dropped.
The company released a statement later in the day.
"These accusations aren't true," the statement read. "Employees know they can confidentially go to Human Resources, not the public. Notwithstanding the appropriate protocol, no one would be fired if they were uncomfortable with their surroundings. We've made accommodations for individuals upon request."
The company has been taping episodes of WWE television from the empty Performance Center (as well as an empty Full Sail Live) in Orlando since the March 13 episode of Friday Night SmackDown. Initially the company planned on producing live episodes of Raw, NXT and SmackDown every week after WrestleMania 36, but last week it changed plans again and announced a new taping schedule.
WWe is also still building up towards its next pay-per-view, Money in the Bank. A portion of the show will take place at WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut on May 10.