WWE founder Vince McMahon resigns from TKO Group after being accused of sexual assault and trafficking in new lawsuit

WWE founder Vince McMahon resigns from TKO Group after being accused of sexual assault and trafficking in new lawsuit

Vince McMahon attends a press conference to announce that WWE Wrestlemania 29 will take place at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Michael N. Todaro | Getty Images

Vince McMahon, chairman of TKO Group Holdings and founder of wrestling giant WWE, has resigned from both companies, according to a WWE memo obtained by CNBC and confirmed by the company.

“Vince McMahon has tendered his resignation from his positions as TKO Executive Chairman and on the TKO Board of Directors. He will no longer have a role with TKO Group Holdings or WWE,” said Nick Khan, President of WWE.

The announcement came following allegations of sexual assault and sex trafficking against McMahon that were made public on Thursday.

McMahon has denied the allegations. But he said in a statement late Friday: “Out of respect for the WWE Universe, the extraordinary TKO Company and its board members and shareholders, partners and constituents, and all the employees and Superstars who have helped make WWE a world leader. “Today I decided to resign from my chairmanship and the TKO board with immediate effect.”

The latest allegations against McMahon stem from a lawsuit filed by Janel Grant, who claims McMahon directed her to have sex with a WWE “superstar” and other men. Grant’s lawsuit seeks to void a nondisclosure agreement Grant entered into with McMahon in early 2022.

Grant’s lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Connecticut says billionaire McMahon agreed to pay her $3 million as part of that deal, but ended up paying only $1 million in exchange for her silence about his behavior.

In addition to McMahon (78), the lawsuit also names WWE and John Laurinaitis, the company’s former head of talent relations and general manager, as defendants.

The complaint comes six months after federal law enforcement officials executed a search warrant on McMahon and served him with a grand jury subpoena as part of an investigation into McMahon’s payment of millions of dollars to several women, including Grant, following allegations of sexual misconduct.

McMahon, who resigned in mid-2022 amid an internal company investigation into WWE leadership positions only to return as leader in early 2023, paid $17.4 million to WWE last March to defray the costs of an investigation into those payouts by a law firm he hired cover companies.

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2024-01-27 02:40:15