World Wrestling Entertainment founder Vince McMahon stepped down from his role with the company and its parent company Friday, Jan. 26, the day after he was accused in a lawsuit of sex trafficking, abuse and sexual assault by a former employee.
McMahon tendered his resignation from his positions as TKO executive chairman and on the TKO board of directors and will no longer have a role with WWE, WWE President Nick Khan wrote in an email to employees Friday night.
On Thursday, Jan. 24, former WWE employee Janel Grant filed a lawsuit that stated she was “the victim of physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault and trafficking at WWE.”
“Today’s complaint seeks to hold accountable two WWE executives who sexually assaulted and trafficked Plaintiff Janel Grant, as well as the organization that facilitated or turned a blind eye to the abuse and then swept it under the rug,” her attorney Ann Callis said.
McMahon has rejected the allegations and said he looks forward to clearing his name
“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,” he said in a statement Friday night.
“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.”
McMahon has not been criminally charged in connection with the allegations in the lawsuit.
Before his resignation, TKO Group Holdings said McMahon did not control TKO or oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE. “While this matter pre-dates our TKO executive team’s tenure at the company, we take Ms. Grant’s horrific allegations very seriously and are addressing this matter internally,” the company said in a statement.
Representatives for Grant did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday evening.
Grant’s lawsuit includes accusations of sex trafficking, civil battery, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
McMahon had stepped down as CEO of WWE in 2022 after an investigation found that he had paid nearly $15 million to four women over 16 years to quiet claims of sexual misconduct.
Even during that time, McMahon maintained control over the company as a majority shareholder. In a November regulatory filing, WWE said, “Mr. McMahon can effectively exercise control over our affairs.”
He was reinstated to the company’s board last year, World Wrestling Entertainment said.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.