Vince McMahon, the boss of the TKO Group holding company, bringing together the American professional wrestling league (WWE) and the mixed martial arts (MMA) UFC, announced his resignation on Friday. Janel Grant, a former employee of WWE, of which McMahon was the undisputed boss for four decades, filed a complaint Thursday in a Connecticut court (northeast) against her ex-company and her former boss, as well as against another director John Laurinaitis, for “sexual assault”, “exploitation” and “psychological violence”.
In a press release, Vince McMahon refuted the accusations and announced that he was resigning from the board of directors of TKO Group, a holding company created last April from the merger of WWE, of which he is the co-founder, and the UFC , the leading MMA organization. “I intend to defend myself vigorously against these baseless accusations and I am waiting to be able to clear my honor,” he added, specifying that his resignation was with “immediate effect”. The plaintiff accuses Vince McMahon of having forced her to maintain an “intimate relationship”, of having shared photos and videos of her of a sexual nature with male colleagues, and of having subjected her to “increasing perverse sexual demands ”, including intimate relationships with other men.
Aged 78, McMahon, a longtime friend of former US President Donald Trump, bought the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from his father in 1982, turning it into a highly successful league, transforming it in 2002 in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). With its events filling theaters in the United States and abroad, WWE reached $1 billion in annual revenue in 2022. That year, however, Vince McMahon was forced to leave following accusations of extramarital affairs but also of sexual harassment, cases marked by the signing of confidentiality agreements worth several million dollars. He returned to the head of the company a few months later, before leading the merger of WWE with the UFC, the new holding company taking the name TKO Group.
The announcement of his resignation comes as Netflix announced on Tuesday that it had signed a ten-year broadcasting agreement with WWE, a move described as major for the platform which has until now remained behind in the race for event broadcasting rights. sports, unlike Amazon. The value of this contract is estimated at five billion dollars. Netflix has made no comment at this time. On the other hand, according to several American media including The Wrap, a site specializing in entertainment, one of the main sponsors of the WWE - Slim Jim, a brand of snacks - announced on Friday that it was "pausing" its partnership, evoking in a press release cited by these media as “disturbing accusations”.
SEE ALSO - When David Beckham meets Kylian Mbappé at the PSG Campus