WWE is calling John Oliver to the mat. To be fair to Vince McMahon & Co., Oliver worked himself into a shoot — and this program — with what sports entertainment fans would call a particularly scathing promo.
(Are those enough pro-wrestling terms for you, WWE Universe? No? OK, more to come.)
WWE has released a statement that is pretty bluntly titled “John Oliver Ignores Facts,” a response to the comedian’s Sunday smackdown of how he believes World Wrestling Entertainment treats its athletes.
And then WWE invited Oliver to Sunday’s WrestleMania 35.
Below is the full WWE statement as sent to TheWrap.
John Oliver Ignores Facts
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, longstanding Talent Wellness program.
We invite John Oliver to attend WrestleMania this Sunday to learn more about our company.
Last night on “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver called WWE Chairman Vince McMahon an “asshole” over a perceived mistreatment of his wrestlers. The HBO host’s main gripe appears to be that WWE considers its talent to be independent contractors — and not employees — which allows the company to avoid paying for longterm healthcare and other benefits.
“Look, maybe when wrestlers might work years ago for multiple different organizations it made sense to call them (independent) contractors,” Oliver had said of the territory days. “But now that 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– machine.’ It’s just clearly not true ANYMORE.”
Apologies to the 39th President of the United States of America.
As is often the case by the end of a “Last Week Tonight” takedown, Oliver proposed a plan to rectify things at World Wrestling Entertainment: He not-so-subtly reminded the WWE Universe that we can make signs for and form chants at Sunday’s WrestleMania.
But will Oliver now attend to lead those chants? Ball’s in his court — err, ring.
Watch the “Last Week Tonight” segment here.