MONEY & BUSINESS: Vince McMahon out at WWE after resigning from TKO Group amid sex abuse scandal
Vince McMahon announced Friday he is stepping down from his position as executive chairman of WWE-parent TKO Group Holdings amid the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the wrestling world.
According to Deadline, McMahon denied the allegations of a the lawsuit that was filed against him Thursday that accused him of sexual assault and trafficking, but he is nonetheless resigning from his post.
“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 Friday, according to Deadline. “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, effectively immediately.”
McMahon, the co-founder of the modern WWE, was hit with the bombshell lawsuit this week by ex-staffer Janel Grant — which included allegations that he defecated on her during a threesome, trafficked her to other WWE executives and sexually abused her with toys he named after wrestling stars.
Staff members were told of McMahon’s decision in an email Friday, according to Variety.
“I wanted to inform you that Vince McMahon has tendered his resignation from his positions as TKO Executive Chairman and on the TKO Board of Directors,” WWE president and TKO board member Nick Khan said in an email to staff on Friday, per Variety. “He will no longer have a role with TKO Group Holdings or WWE.”
Grant’s lawsuit comes after the Wall Street Journal reported in 2023 that the WWE was investigating an alleged $3 million payment from McMahon to a departing female employee following a consensual affair.
Grant, who was not previously named before this week’s allegations came to light, claims in her new lawsuit that after she signed an NDA to keep things under wraps, she received $1 million but no further payments.
Grant, 43, who previously worked in WWE’s legal and talent departments named McMahon, 78, WWE and John Laurinaitis, the company’s former head of talent relations and general manager, in the lawsuit.
In 2019, Grant allegedly was introduced to McMahon at the luxury condo where they both lived, the Park Tower Stamford — a 36-story condo tower formerly known as Trump Parc Stamford.
McMahon later allegedly promised her a job with the company after her parents died, but Grant has alleged that this entailed having a sexual relationship with him, which continued into January 2022.
McMahon allegedly shared nude photos of her to other employees and directed her to have sex with other executives and a wrestling star, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleges that McMahon texted Grant in 2020: “I’m the only one who owns U and controls who I want to f— U.”
Grant alleges that McMahon’s use of sex toys also caused her injuries.
“Ms. Grant hopes that her lawsuit will prevent other women from being victimized,” Ann Callis, her attorney, said in a statement Thursday. “The organization is well aware of Mr. McMahon’s history of depraved behavior, and it’s time that they take responsibility for the misconduct of its leadership.”
McMahon had initially stepped down from WWE in 2022 amid the organization looking into his alleged sexual misconduct, but returned in 2023 and helped merge WWE and UFC, forming TKO Group Holdings.