WWE co-founder and former CEO Vince McMahon is under federal investigation over sexual assault and sex trafficking allegations brought forward by multiple women.
In recent months, federal prosecutors have interviewed the women who have accused McMahon of sexual misconduct, The Wall Street Journal first reported on Friday.
Last week, a former employee of World Wrestling Entertainment, Janel Grant, filed a lawsuit on Jan. 25, claiming that McMahon inflicted “psychological torture and physical violence” by sexually assaulted her, trafficking her to WWE wrestlers and other men, and making “depraved sexual demands” in exchange for her continued employment at the company.
Grant was allegedly fired after McMahon’s wife found out, and she claims she was paid $3 million to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
McMahon denied the allegations in the lawsuit but stepped down as executive chairman of the board of TKO Group, WWE’s parent company, the following day, severing all ties with the company he founded more than 40 years ago.
This wasn’t the first time McMahon has been accused of sexual misconduct.
According to a 2022 investigation by The Wall Street Journal, McMahon paid more than $12 million in hush money for over a decade to four women to silence their sexual misconduct claims against him. He resigned from his role as CEO of the WWE following the report and returned to the company’s board last year.
In July 2023, federal officials seized McMahon’s phone and subpoenaed him for documents related to any “rape, sex trafficking, sexual assault, commercial sex transaction, harassment or discrimination” allegations against current or former WWE employees, including communication between him and Grant, The Wall Street Journal reported.
No charges related to the allegations in the lawsuit against McMahon have been filed.
McMahon told The Wall Street Journal that the federal probe won’t find any wrongdoing and reiterated his statement from last week in which he described Grant’s lawsuit as “replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred” and a “vindictive distortion of the truth.”
“I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name,” McMahon said in the statement, ABC News reported.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.