After the massive controversy involving Vince McMahon, the renowned executive chairman of TKO Group Holdings and founder of wrestling juggernaut WWE erupted, he has stepped down from his positions at both the companies. This decision follows the emergence of troubling allegations of sex trafficking by a former employee against McMahon, as confirmed by the company.
Nick Khan, the president of WWE, announced McMahon's resignation, stating, "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."
The catalyst for McMahon's departure stems from allegations of sexual assault and sex trafficking made public on Thursday. While McMahon vehemently denies these accusations, he expressed his decision to resign in a statement released late Friday. McMahon cited respect for the WWE community, TKO business, board members, shareholders, partners, employees, and Superstars as the driving force behind his immediate resignation from his executive chairmanship and the TKO board of directors.
The allegations against McMahon surfaced in a lawsuit filed by Janel Grant, who claims McMahon coerced her into engaging in sexual activities with a WWE "superstar" and other individuals. Grant's lawsuit seeks to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement she allegedly made with McMahon in early 2022. According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, McMahon purportedly agreed to a $3 million settlement with Grant but ultimately paid her only $1 million in exchange for her silence regarding his alleged misconduct.
In addition to McMahon, the lawsuit names WWE and John Laurinaitis, the company's former head of talent relations and general manager, as defendants. This legal action comes in the wake of a federal investigation into McMahon's payment of millions of dollars to multiple women, including Grant, following allegations of sexual misconduct. McMahon had previously resigned from leadership positions at WWE in mid-2022 amid an internal investigation but returned as its leader in early 2023. Last March, McMahon paid WWE $17.4 million to cover the costs of a probe into these payouts conducted by a law firm retained by the company.
The resignation of Vince McMahon marks a significant development in the ongoing legal and ethical challenges facing both TKO Group Holdings and WWE. As the fallout from these allegations continues to unfold, the future leadership and direction of these companies remain uncertain.