Vince McMahon cuts ties with WWE after sex trafficking accusation


Vince McMahon, chairman and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, resigned from the board of directors of WWE’s parent company on Friday, a day after a former employee accused him of sexual assault and trafficking in a federal lawsuit.

McMahon was the CEO of TKO Group, WWE’s parent company, although he did not hold any formal position with WWE. WWE employees were informed of the changes in an email sent by Nick Kahn, president of the company.

“He will no longer have any role in TKO Group Holdings or WWE,” Kahn wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Connecticut, accused Mr. McMahon of trafficking the employee, Janel Grant, as well as physically and emotionally abusing her. The graphic complaint, which also names John Laurinatis, a WWE executive, and the company itself as defendants, says that McMahon and Laurinatis once took turns raping her, among many other accusations.

McMahon ultimately pressured Ms. Grant to sign a confidentiality agreement in exchange for $3 million, according to the complaint, but paid her only $1 million.

In a statement issued after their resignations, McMahon called Grant’s lawsuit a “vindictive distortion of the truth” and said he looked forward to clearing his name. But he decided to resign “out of respect” for TKO, WWE, his employees and fighters.

The lawsuit is far from the first time McMahon has been accused of sexual misconduct. In 2022, a special committee of the WWE board of directors conducted an investigation into Mr. McMahon’s conduct and found that for 16 years there had been spent $14.6 million on payments to women who had accused him of sexual misconduct. Further investigation by the company found that he had made additional payments of $5 million to two different women.

McMahon temporarily resigned from WWE during the investigation. But he remained the company’s largest shareholder, and in 2023 he returned to chair its board and began a sale process that resulted in the purchase of sports and entertainment conglomerate Endeavor. Endeavor then combined WWE and another of his holdings, the mixed martial arts promotion company Ultimate Fighting Championships, in a new public company, TKO Group.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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