Vince McMahon has resigned from WWE’s parent company TKO Group Holdings one day after allegations of sexual abuse and trafficking emerged. WWE president Nick Khan informed WWE staff of McMahon’s resignation on Friday.
“I wanted to inform you that Vince McMahon has tendered his resignation from his positions as TKO executive chairman and on the TKO board of directors,” Khan wrote in an all-staff email. “He will no longer have a role with TKO Group Holdings or WWE.”
McMahon’s resignation from TKO comes in the aftermath of horrifying allegations levied against McMahon by a former employee. On Thursday, Janel Grant filed a lawsuit against WWE, McMahon and former head of talent relations John Laurinaitis. The lawsuit details multiple allegations of sexual assault and “extreme depravity” conducted by McMahon and Laurinaitis. Grant also accused McMahon of trafficking her to other men “as a pawn to secure talent deals.”
“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,” McMahon said in a statement to Deadline. “I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name.
“However, out of respect for the WWE Universe, the extraordinary TKO business and its board members and shareholders, partners and constituents, and all of the employees and Superstars who helped make WWE into the global leader it is today, I have decided to resign from my executive chairmanship and the TKO board of directors, effective immediately.”
This marks the second time in 18 months that McMahon has stepped down from corporate roles involving WWE. McMahon previously retired as WWE chairman and CEO amid investigations into sexual misconduct and millions paid in hush money. McMahon returned to WWE in January 2023 as an executive chairman to lead WWE’s sales efforts. McMahon was granted the title of TKO executive chairman after WWE and UFC merged in a deal coordinated by Endeavor.
The recent allegations against McMahon come days after WWE signed a 10-year deal with Netflix totaling $5 billion. Slim Jim — a key WWE sponsor — paused their promotional activities with the company in light of the allegations. A spokesperson for McMahon released a statement addressing the lawsuit on Thursday night.
“This lawsuit is replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and a vindictive distortion of the truth. He will vigorously defend himself.”