Vince McMahon, the founder of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), has resigned from his position as executive chairman of TKO Group Holdings, the parent company of WWE.
This decision comes because of the allegations of sexual assault, trafficking, and physical abuse made by former WWE staffer Janel Grant in a lawsuit filed on Thursday.
The allegations against Vince McMahon came to light through a lawsuit filed by Janel Grant, who had worked at the headquarters of WWE, the wrestling that McMahon founded over 40 years ago.
While Vince McMahon denies the accusations, the lawsuit shows new light on the alleged misconduct, including claims that Vince McMahon used his position of power to exploit and coerce Grant into a sexual relationship in exchange for job opportunities and promotions within the company.
Grant’s lawsuit accuses Vince McMahon but also implicates John Laurinaitis, a former executive in WWE’s talent relations department.
The lawsuit alleges that Vince McMahon trafficked Grant to other men, including Laurinaitis, and engaged in acts of extreme cruelty and degradation.
The legal proceedings will bring attention to the culture at WWE and questions about the effectiveness of the company’s internal investigations, especially considering Grant’s claims that the special committee assigned to investigate McMahon never interviewed her or requested any documents.
This is the first time Vince McMahon has faced allegations leading to his resignation. In July 2022, he retired from his role as CEO and chairman amid earlier accusations of sexual misconduct.
A special committee was formed to investigate the allegations, but McMahon returned to WWE’s board in January 2023 after the investigation was closed.
Vince McMahon’s resignation marks a turning point for both WWE and TKO. As the founder and figure in WWE’s success, McMahon’s departure creates uncertainty about the future leadership of the company.
TKO, formed after WWE’s merger with UFC, faces the challenge of addressing the allegations against its largest shareholder.
Grant’s lawsuit alleges that the company actively worked to conceal McMahon’s wrongdoing, questions about the accountability of the organization in addressing sexual misconduct and harassment.
The #MeToo movement has had an impact across various industries, and WWE now finds itself at the center of a cultural reckoning.
WWE President Nick Khan stated that McMahon will no longer have a role with TKO or WWE. The lack of detailed response questions about how the company will address the allegations and whether there will be further internal investigations or policy changes to prevent such incidents in the future.
McMahon’s exit comes at a time when WWE has secured lucrative business partnerships, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joining TKO’s board of directors. The partnerships with Netflix, valued at over $5 billion, have been touted as deals.