David Starr On The ‘Independent Contractor’ Label, Healthcare, Using His Platform To Speak Out

David Starr recently spoke with Wrestlezone’s Angel Garcia and talked about the perception and actual execution of the ‘independent contractor’ label in wrestling. Starr said it ties into his overall message of labor empowerment for wrestlers, saying promoters shouldn’t be able to pick and choose and it should be all of the ‘contractor’ benefits for talent, or none at all.

“Yeah, because you’ve got to fight for your rights. That’s the thing, you have businesses that want to use the independent contractor phrase to the best of their advantage, but they don’t want to take the good bits. They pick and choose what parts they really adhere to.

The idea of being an independent contractor is fine, but then you have to get all of those benefits. It’s either ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ and the problem is it’s very much ‘oh we like this bit of the independent contractor, but we don’t like that one so we’re not going to use it.’ It’s ‘this’ one or ‘that’ one—no, no, no. Give us all of the rights of being an independent contractor, or don’t give us any of them and just say we’re exclusively employed talent.

That’s fine, if you look at your contract and you say ‘this is what’s best for me and my family,’ sick, but the point is, go over it. If they say ‘hey, we don’t like lawyers’ then guess what, that contract isn’t worth the piece of paper it’s written on. What’s the point if you’re just going to be bullied by your employer?”

Starr, who recently won Super Strong Style 16 and Best Of The Best, had also made headlines for saying he had turned down offers from WWE in the past. Starr expanded on these comments, saying it’s not as simple as just turning them down for a lack of healthcare options.

“And I’ve read a bunch of things, so I have to address this as well—people talk about I had interest from WWE, and then one of the reasons that I didn’t is because they don’t provide healthcare. I live in London right now, I’m a taxpayer there, so I’m paying into the NHS system, which essentially, I get free healthcare. I can go to the hospital and not have to worry about it, and if I were to do a WWE thing, or Ring Of Honor, I’d have to move back to the [United] States, and the healthcare wouldn’t be covered. That’s a huge amount of money. I see people start to say ‘oh, you don’t sign with WWE for the healthcare, but you stay on the indies for no healthcare.’ It’s like, hey idiots, understand how thick you are when you say that. You’re talking about a billion dollar company versus independent companies. It’s insanity, so I just wanted to put that to bed because it’s a ridiculous thing people have said.”

Starr also touched on reports that he quit WXW because of their affiliation with WWE, which he says is untrue. ‘The Product’ says he left because WALTER wouldn’t give him a rematch, and that was the only reason.

“I also saw people say ‘you quit WXW because of their ties to WWE.’ No, that’s not why I quit WXW. If you actually listen to the promo—which, maybe you’re allowed to because they edited it off because they didn’t like the fact that I called out WWE for that—but that’s not the reason I quit. The reason why I quit is because WALTER wouldn’t give me a rematch in WXW. If he’s not going to do that, then there’s no point in me being there. That’s the reason I quit WXW.

Then they say it’s hypocritical to keep working for PROGRESS, but the reason that it had nothing to do with the ties to WWE, is if they’re giving me a platform where I can speak out against the things that they’re in favor of, or that the higher parent company is in favor of, I’m going to take advantage of that, of course I am. The same reason when Ring Of Honor gave me a world title shot, I took the opportunity to say ‘hey, Sinclair, you’re a far right wing, extremist propaganda organization.’ So yeah, I took their platform and I used it against them.”

Related: David Starr On His Message Of Labor Empowerment: ‘I Want Wrestlers To Realize Their Value’