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WWE founder Vince McMahon resigns after allegations of sex trafficking and defecating on female colleague’s head
27 January 2024, 08:23
Vince McMahon says he has resigned “out of respect” but will “vigorously defend” himself following accusations of sexual misconduct and sex trafficking.
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Mr McMahon, 78, announced on Friday that he had decided to resign as executive chairman of TKO, the parent company of WWE, but would fight to clear his name.
He has denied the allegations.
In a statement announcing his resignation, a spokesman for Mr McMahon said: “I stand by my prior statement that Ms Grant's lawsuit is replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and is a vindictive distortion of the truth.
"I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name."
“Out of respect for the WWE Universe, the extraordinary TKO business and its board members and shareholders, partners and constituents, and all of the employees and Superstars who helped make WWE into the global leader it is today, I have decided to resign from my executive chairmanship and the TKO board of directors, effective immediately.”
Former WWE employee Janel Grant filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Mr McMahon and John Laurinaitis, the company’s former talent relations and general manager.
Mr Laurinaitis has not yet commented.
Mr McMahon and Mr Laurinaitis are accused of trafficking Ms Grant to other men to entice wrestling talent, which the lawsuit claims WWE financially benefited from.
Ms Grant, a former employee in WWE’s legal and talent departments, agreed to be named.
The lawsuit also alleges that Mr McMahon subjected Ms Grant to “acts of extremely cruelty and degradation” that led her to "become numb to reality in order to survive the horrific encounters”.
Screenshots of explicit messages allegedly sent by Mr McMahon to Ms Grant were among the court documents.
The documents also accuse Mr McMahon of defecating on Ms Grant’s head during a threesome.
The lawsuit claims Mr McMahon “expected and directed Ms Grant to engage in sexual activity at the WWE headquarters, even during working hours”.
Ms Grant is seeking compensation and that the court voids a $3m non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which she says she only ever received $1m of.
Mr McMahon stepped down as WWE chief executive following an investigation over an alleged $3m settlement between Mr McMahon and an ex-employee who he had a consensual affair with.
WWE merged with UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) last year to create parent company TKO Group Holdings.
TKO Group said earlier this week it was taking the claims “very seriously”.
"Mr McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE," it said.
"While this matter pre-dates our TKO executive team's tenure at the company, we take Ms Grant's horrific allegations very seriously and are addressing this matter internally."