As David Starr’s exposure has increased throughout 2019, he has been provided the platform to be outspoken on his own political views, and his battle to unionise professional wrestling, even gaining mainstream attention in the UK from a column in The Observer on Sunday.
The Product recently appeared on The Michael Brooks Show, and discussed a number of issues, including We The Independent, Bernie Sanders, his Ring of Honor promo.
On becoming more politically active, Starr explained how he has always engaged in politics on a surface level, but he has become more and more interested since the 2016 presidential election. He explained: “I saw what Trump was doing which shook me to my core. I was like ‘Woah, this isn’t okay,’ and then I started paying attention to the Democratic side of the primary.”
This drew him to Bernie Sanders, who emerged within mainstream US politics during the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries. Starr described himself as having been somewhat “radicalised” by the Vermont senator.
He also discussed how politics has become more incorporated into who he is as a character. The Product elaborated that during some down time in Germany he visited a concentration camp. Then at The Jewish Cannon’s next show:
“I had a bunch of pennies thrown at me”, in an anti-Semitic attack from a dozen people in the crowd. From, this, he decided to use the platform he was provided to espouse: “The views I believe are better for the world.”
On 19th March 2019, David Starr posted a promo online, ahead of his match against then Ring of Honor World Champion Jay Lethal in Israel. He criticised both the Israeli government and Sinclair Broadcasting, owners of ROH.
Starr said, “You know what else is a joke, is that Ring of Honor wrestling used to represent pure, independent professional wrestling, instead of representing a far right wing, extremist corporate propaganda machine.”
Addressing this during Brooks’s show, he said they “freaked out” and ultimately booked Lethal to lose the title, so Starr couldn’t be associated with it. He did discuss how it made him realise that he had the platform to say “the things you’re not supposed to say.”
Starr has since begun talking about unionising professional wrestling. It’s been a taboo subject within the industry, particularly in WWE.
To help unionise professional wrestlers, Starr set up We The Independent on 4th July 2019. While it is primarily a merchandising company, a portion of the proceeds from everything sold is used to pay for trade union membership with Equity, a trade union based in the United Kingdom.
He described how he has worked with Equity to improve what benefits are available for professional wrestlers. Since establishing We The Independent, they have gotten Equity to include professional wrestlers in their disability welfare insurance policy, which entitles union members to £150 per week for up to one year if they get injured. He explained his ultimate aim however is to make it a standard within the United Kingdom, that as soon as you start wrestling, you join the union.
In terms of future plans, along with wrestling around the world, Starr added he is planning on publishing his own Standards of Practice for independent promotions to adhere to. He explained the difficulties of life on the road, whereby independent promotions don’t have to supply food or water to wrestlers, and many staff such as the ring crew, go unpaid.