Vince McMahon, the legendary founder of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), has tendered his resignation as the executive chairman of TKO Group Holdings, the parent company of WWE. This decision comes in the wake of deeply troubling allegations of sexual assault, trafficking, and misconduct brought forward by Janel Grant, a former WWE employee.
The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut, accuses McMahon and another former executive, John Laurinaitis, of serious sexual misconduct. Grant alleges that McMahon forced her into a sexual relationship as a condition for employment, subsequently sharing explicit content of her with other men, including fellow WWE employees. The lawsuit also implicates Laurinaitis in these disturbing acts.
Despite McMahon vehemently denying the allegations, he announced his resignation “out of respect” for WWE, TKO Group, and its stakeholders. In a statement, McMahon stated, “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. I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations and look forward to clearing my name.”
This controversy is not the first time McMahon has faced public scrutiny. In 2022, he stepped down as WWE’s CEO amid similar allegations, only to return as the company’s chairperson in January 2023 after the conclusion of an investigation.
The lawsuit not only exposes disturbing allegations against McMahon but also raises questions about the culture within WWE. Grant alleges that the organization actively worked to conceal McMahon’s misconduct, with the special committee assigned to investigate him reportedly failing to contact her or request any documents.
McMahon’s resignation marks a pivotal moment in the history of WWE, a company he transformed into a global entertainment powerhouse. The departure of the wrestling icon raises concerns about the future leadership of the organization and its ability to navigate the fallout from these grave accusations.
This development unfolds against the backdrop of significant business partnerships for WWE. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson recently announced his addition to TKO’s board of directors, and Netflix secured an exclusive 10-year, $5 billion broadcast deal with WWE starting in January 2025. McMahon’s exit introduces uncertainty about the impact on these partnerships and the overall trajectory of WWE.