STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Wrestling icon Vince McMahon resigned Friday from WWE’s father or mother firm t he day after a former worker filed a federal lawsuit accusing him and one other former government of significant sexual misconduct, together with providing her to a star wrestler for intercourse.
McMahon stepped down from the his place as government chairman of the board of administrators at WWE’s father or mother firm, TKO Group Holdings, in keeping with an announcement launched late Friday. He continued to disclaim wrongdoing following the lawsuit filed by Janel Grant, who labored within the firm’s authorized and expertise departments.
The swimsuit contains allegations that McMahon, now 78, compelled Grant right into a sexual relationship to ensure that her to get and hold a job and handed round pornographic photos and movies of her to different males, together with different WWE staff.
The AP sometimes doesn’t identify accusers in sexual assault instances, however Grant’s representatives mentioned she wished to go public. Her lawyer declined to remark Friday.
McMahon’s assertion mentioned that he was leaving the board “out of respect” for WWE and TKO Group.
“I stand by my prior assertion that Ms. Grant’s lawsuit is replete with lies, obscene made-up situations that by no means occurred, and is a vindictive distortion of the reality,” he mentioned within the assertion. “I intend to vigorously defend myself towards these baseless accusations, and look ahead to clearing my identify.”
McMahon stepped down as WWE’s CEO in 2022 amid an investigation into allegations that match these within the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in U.S. District Courtroom in Connecticut, the place WWE is predicated.
McMahon was the chief and most recognizable face at WWE for many years. When he bought what was then the World Wrestling Federation from his father in 1982, wrestling matches came about at small venues and appeared on native cable channels. WWE matches at the moment are held in skilled sports activities stadiums, and the group has a large abroad following.
WWE merged final April with the corporate that runs Final Preventing Championship to create the $21.4 billion sports activities leisure firm TKO Group Holdings, and McMahon served as that group’s government chairman of the board till Friday.
TKO Group’s consultant referred media inquiries about McMahon’s resignation to his assertion. Deadline first reported that he was stepping down.
“Mr. McMahon doesn’t management TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE,” TKO Group mentioned earlier this week. “Whereas this matter pre-dates our TKO government crew’s tenure on the firm, we take Ms. Grant’s horrific allegations very severely and are addressing this matter internally.”
Grant additionally names as defendants within the lawsuit the WWE and John Laurinaitis, an ex-pro wrestler and the corporate’s former head of expertise relations and basic supervisor. WWE and Laurinaitis didn’t return requests for remark Friday.
In line with the lawsuit, McMahon lived in the identical constructing as Grant and in 2019 supplied to get her a job at WWE after her mother and father died.
She alleges that he ultimately made it clear that one of many necessities of the job was a bodily relationship with him and later with Laurinaitis and others.
Over the following few years, McMahon lavished her with items together with a luxurious automotive, the swimsuit says.
It additionally alleges that McMahon supplied certainly one of his star wrestlers — an individual not named within the lawsuit — intercourse with Grant as a perk in 2021.
“WWE benefited financially from the business intercourse act enterprise orchestrated by McMahon, together with by having wrestling expertise, corresponding to WWE Celebrity, signal new contracts with WWE after McMahon offered Plaintiff as a sexual commodity for his or her use,” the lawsuit states.
Grant is looking for unspecified financial damages and to have the courtroom void a $3 million nondisclosure settlement, of which she alleges she acquired solely $1 million.
“Ms. Grant hopes that her lawsuit will forestall different ladies from being victimized,” her lawyer, Ann Callis, mentioned in an announcement Thursday. “The group is nicely conscious of Mr. McMahon’s historical past of wicked habits, and it’s time that they take duty for the misconduct of its management.”
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