Vince McMahon has handed in his resignation from TKO Group, the parent company of WWE, amid new claims of sexual misconduct against him.
The firm announced his exit through a statement released on Friday (January 26).
Vince McMahon Resigns From TKO Group
But McMahon has maintained his innocence despite stepping down, insinuating the lawsuit had not influenced his decision to resign.
In his statement, he branded the suit as nothing more than “lies” and “obscene made-up instances.”
“I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations and look forward to clearing my name,” he wrote, per NBC News.
“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.”
Janel Grant, a former legal and talent department employee, filed a lawsuit against McMahon and John Laurinaitis, the former head of talent relations.
McMahon became familiar with Grant as they formerly lived in the same building, the suit notes, per the Wall Street Journal.
Allegations About Sexual Misconduct
It is alleged that the former executive offered her a job at WWE shortly after Grant’s parents passed away in 2019.
But McMahon, according to the suit, allegedly insinuated the job came with specific requirements.
Grant’s docs claim that McMahon was only willing to hire her if she agreed to a sexual relationship with him. Additionally, terminating the arrangement meant losing her job.
The allegations in her court documents, per CNN, include sexual abuse and trafficking by offering her to another well-known wrestler for intercourse.
The identity of the athlete in question was not disclosed in the court papers.
But she also accused McMahon of sharing raunchy photos and videos of her with other male employees at the company. This allegedly created an unfit environment for Grant to continue working in.
The plaintiff claims that multiple men at the WWE headquarters coerced her to perform sexual acts during work hours at certain times. Laurinaitis, in particular, allegedly made her engage in intimate encounters before her shift would start.
In 2022, she claims both McMahon and Laurinaitis sexually assaulted her in one of the WWE offices.
The company allegedly let Grant go in 2022 before pressuring her into signing a non-disclosure agreement, per The Hill.
Vince Previously Stepped Down As CEO Of WWE
That same year, in July, Vince retired as CEO of WWE amid an investigation into sexual misconduct. In November, the company’s investigation found four women received “almost $15 million” over 16 years to address misconduct allegations, per NBC. Still, Vince was allowed to regain “control over…affairs” in the company.
CEO Ari Emmanuel has assured that they are actively addressing the severe allegations internally while dealing with McMahon’s abrupt exit.
“Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE,” he said, according Deadline. “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.”