Vince McMahon, the founder of World Wrestling Entertainment, resigned from his position within the company and its parent company on Friday, following allegations made against him in a lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by a former employee the day before, accused McMahon of sex trafficking, abuse, and sexual assault.
In his resignation, McMahon stepped down from his roles as TKO executive chairman and member of the TKO board of directors, severing his ties with WWE. WWE President Nick Khan informed employees of McMahon’s departure in an email sent out Friday evening.
Janel Grant, a past staff member at WWE’s main offices, alleges in her claim that she suffered abuse and sexual exploitation by McMahon during his tenure as CEO. She says McMahon enticed her with career progression promises, only to allegedly exploit her and subject her to trafficking to other individuals within the organization.
The lawsuit contains a particularly alarming account of an alleged sexual assault involving Grant, Vince McMahon, and John Laurinaitis at WWE’s headquarters in 2021. According to the claim, the two men are accused of dragging Grant behind a locked door and forcibly restraining her. Despite her pleas for them to desist, it is alleged that one of the men told her, “No means yes.”
The 67-page lawsuit also implicated a “former UFC heavyweight champion” with whom WWE was actively trying to sign to a new contract.”
McMahon has rejected the allegations and said he looks forward to clearing his name.
“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,” McMahon said in the statement. “I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name.
“However, 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.”
McMahon’s departure signifies a pivotal moment for the wrestling entertainment company he founded over four decades ago.
Originally, he retired from his positions as CEO and chairman of WWE in July 2022 due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Following these allegations, WWE declared that a special committee would conduct an investigation into McMahon’s actions.
Nonetheless, his retirement was short-lived. After the investigation concluded in November 2022, McMahon made his comeback to WWE’s board in January 2023.