Vince McMahon, the longtime chairman and former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, resigned from the board of WWE’s parent company on Friday, a day after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment and trafficking in a federal lawsuit.
Mr. McMahon was the executive chairman of WWE’s parent company TKO Group, although he held no formal position in WWE. WWE employees were informed of the changes in an email sent by company president Nick Kahn.
“He will no longer have any role in TKO Group Holdings or WWE,” Mr. Kahn wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, accused Mr. McMahon of trafficking employee Janelle Grant as well as physically and emotionally abusing her. The graphic complaint, which also names John Laurinaitis, a WWE executive, and the company as defendants, says Mr. McMahon and Mr. Laurinaitis once raped her, along with several other allegations.
According to the complaint, Mr. McMahon ultimately pressured Ms. Grant into signing a nondisclosure agreement in exchange for $3 million, but only paid her $1 million.
In a statement released after his resignation, Mr. McMahon called Ms. Grant’s lawsuit a “grotesque distortion of the truth” and said he was eager to clear his name. But he decided to resign “out of respect” for TKO, WWE, their staff, and the wrestlers.
The lawsuit is far from the first time Mr. McMahon has been accused of sexual misconduct. In 2022, a special committee of WWE’s board investigated Mr. McMahon’s conduct, and found that over 16 years he Spent $14.6 million in payments For the women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Further investigation of the company found that it had paid an additional $5 million to two separate women.
Mr. McMahon temporarily resigned from WWE during the investigation. But he remained the company’s largest shareholder, and in 2023 he returned to chair its board and initiated the sale process that resulted in its purchase by sports and entertainment group Endeavor. After this Endeavor merged WWE and Another of its holdings, mixed martial arts promotional company Ultimate Fighting Championship, was spun off into a new public company, TKO Group.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.