On Sunday night, John Oliver did not hold back with his takedown of WWE boss Vince McMahon and the working conditions and treatment of the wrestlers in the organization on HBO’s Last Week Tonight. True to professional wrestling form, the WWE wasn’t about to take the hits without retaliating.
ETI received a statement from the WWE that said: “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 statement continued. “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.”
During the episode of Last Week Tonight, Oliver unpacked the horrible work conditions faced by wrestlers in the WWE under the reign of McMahon, who is seen as a villain during telecasts of WWE events.
“While the character Vince is an asshole, it’s important to know that the real Vince is also an asshole,” Oliver bluntly said. “Many fans legitimately hate him. While the WWE has made him a billionaire, many wrestlers say he’s treated him terribly.”
He played many clips from retired wrestlers who have worked under McMahon. Bret “The Hitman” Hart, who lost his brother Owen while they were both in the WWE (which was called the WWF back then), said that McMahon treated them like circus animals. Jesse Ventura appeared on Howard Stern to air out grievances during his time with the league. Oliver also pointed out that Ventura tried to unionize the WWE which would have made working conditions better but “McMahon stamped it out hard.”
With Wrestlemania happening next Sunday, Oliver encouraged fans in the audience to make their voices be heard via signs and chants during the event so that McMahon can give these wrestlers better working conditions.
Watch Oliver’s takedown of the WWE above.