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SAG-AFTRA president says group will 'directly engage' with wrestlers

Image: Variety

In the wake of Zelina Vega being released from WWE, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris gave a statement Monday regarding how her organization is viewing those within pro wrestling.

Given to Spectrum Sports 360's Jon Alba, Carteris said, "Wrestling is as much about media as it is sports and we are going to directly engage with members of this profession to help find ways for them to protect themselves. As more people reinvest in unions and as more working people are harassed by employers who don't want to protect them, SAG-AFTRA is committed to doing what we can to help professional wrestlers secure the protections they deserve."

SAG-AFTRA has 160,000 "actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals." The group combines the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Carteris specifically didn't mention WWE by name in the statement, so if the organization follows through with their efforts, every major organization could be affected but how and to what extent remains to be seen.

WWE's practices with their independent contractors came under fire with their recent edict to talent about suspending third party deals with Twitch and Cameo. That got the interest of former U.S. presidential candidate and wrestling fan Andrew Yang who promised action if Joe Biden was elected president.

Shortly after Vega (Thea Trinidad Budgen) was released Friday, she sent out a tweet in support of unionization. Vega had to shutter her popular Twitch channel due to WWE's new policy, forcing her to abandon a major source of income which Dave Meltzer said was more than what she was making in WWE. She relaunched her Twitch channel over the weekend and also has an OnlyFans account.

Carteris tweeted to Vega on Friday in support and asked Vega to reach out to her.

Vega, who had been with the company since 2017, is married to WWE wrestler Aleister Black.