WWE founder Vince McMahon is currently dealing with legal woes as one of his former employees is now suing him for abuse and sexual exploitation. The lawsuit was filed in the District of Connecticut on Thursday, Jan. 25.
Along with McMahon, WWE and former head of talent relations, John Laurinaitis, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
According to Variety, the former employee, Janel Grant, alleges Vince McMahon abused and sexually exploited her while he was CEO of WWE. She also claimed that he trafficked her to other men “as a pawn to secure talent deals” with prospective wrestlers.
Grant’s lawsuit also alleges that McMahon, Laurinaitis, and WWE violated the Trafficking Victims Prevention Act. it also includes claims of civil battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress in relation to sexual and emotional abuse Grant said she endured. She claimed she was abused for years while employed by WWE.
The lawsuit is seeking unspecific monetary damages. It also seeks a declaratory judgment that a nondisclosure agreement Grant signed as a WWE employee is void and enforceable. It also does not bar any of Grant’s claims against Vince Mahon and WWE.
Variety further reports that the lawsuit comes just days after TKO Group Holdings, the parent company of WWE and UFC, signed a 10-year contract with Netflix for WWE’s Monday Night Raw. The contract is valued at $500 million per year.
Grant’s lawsuit also stated that both McMahon and Laurinaitis both engaged in sexual assault and trafficking. They did so “both for their own pleasure and as a pawn to securing talent deals.”
Vince McMahon Stepped Down as WWE’s CEO in 2022 Amid Investigation of Alleged Misconduct
The latest lawsuit comes less than a year after Vince Mahon stepped down as WWE’s CEO. McMahon was forced to leave his position after the company investigated allegations that he offered a $3 million settlement to a former female employee whom he alleged had an affair with.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Stephanie McMahon, Vince’s daughter, assumed the role of CEO and interim chairwoman. Vince was to retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during the investigation. The company stated at the time that he remained committed to cooperating with the investigation.
However, it was reported that McMahon made payments totaling $19.6 million for hush money to women accusing him of sexual misconduct. In March 2023, he paid WWE $17.4 million for costs the company incurred during the investigation.
Despite the situation, Vince McMahon returned to WWE in January 2023 as executive chairman. He led the efforts to sell WWE. It eventually merged with UFC to form TKO Group Holdings. He became executive chairman of the TKO Group’s board in September 2023. In November, he sold $670 million worth of TKO stock after the merger.