STAMFORD, Conn. — Wrestling icon Vince McMahon resigned Friday from WWE’s parent company the day after a former employee filed a federal lawsuit accusing him and another former executive of serious sexual misconduct, including offering her to a star wrestler for sex.
McMahon stepped down from the board of directors at WWE’s parent company, TKO Group Holdings, according to a statement released late Friday. He continued to deny wrongdoing following the lawsuit filed by Janel Grant, who worked in the company’s legal and talent departments.
The suit includes allegations that McMahon, now 78, forced Grant into a sexual relationship in order for her to get and keep a job and passed around pornographic pictures and videos of her to other men, including other WWE employees.
“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,” he said in the statement. “I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name.”
The AP typically does not name accusers in sexual assault cases, but Grant’s representatives said she wished to go public. Her lawyer did not immediately have a comment Friday.
McMahon stepped down as WWE’s CEO in 2022 amid an investigation into allegations that match those in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, where WWE is based.
McMahon was the leader and most recognizable face at WWE for decades. When he purchased what was then the World Wrestling Federation from his father in 1982, wrestling matches took place at small venues and appeared on local cable channels. WWE matches are now held in professional sports stadiums, and the organization has a sizable overseas following.
WWE merged last April with the company that runs Ultimate Fighting Championship to create the $21.4 billion sports entertainment company TKO Group Holdings, and McMahon served as that group’s executive chairman of the board until Friday.
TKO Group’s representative on Friday referred media inquiries about McMahon’s resignation to his statement.
“Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE,” TKO Group said earlier this week. “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.”