Labor Rights Are Human(e) Rights
I’m struck by the parallels between the French Open failing Naomi Osaka and Billie Eilish’s family failing her. Each is expected to subject themselves to any kind of presumptive, even if transient, ownership over body and soul, regardless of the human psychological impact. I don’t know much about Osaka, and what little I know about Eilish essentially comes from the documentary from which that agonizing scene is excerpted, but it simply should not be considered just “part of the job” to set aside one’s mental health in order to satisfy either the sports press, or “people connected to people”, or whomever the fuck. The upside of the Eilish incident is that, as the film later shows, her family members do eventually cop to having failed her—has anyone yet copped to failing Osaka? This is both purely a human issue and also specifically a labor issue. Tennis officials, sports journalists, and record label bigwigs (and hangers-on) might always want the narrative to be that so-and-so wouldn’t have a career without them, but the fact that an athlete or an artist is considered commercially replaceable by their respective powers-that-be doesn’t mean that athlete or artist can be denied agency over their own well-being.