Vince McMahon, the longtime chairman and former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, resigned from the board of W.W.E.’s parent company on Friday, one day after a former employee accused him of sexual assault and sex trafficking in a lawsuit.
Mr. McMahon, 78, was the executive chairman of TKO Group, the parent company of W.W.E., where he no longer held a formal position. W.W.E. employees were informed of the changes in an email sent by Nick Khan, the company’s president.
“He will no longer have a role with TKO Group Holdings or W.W.E.,” Mr. Khan wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.
The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, accuses Mr. McMahon of trafficking the employee, Janel Grant, as well as physically and emotionally abusing her. The graphic complaint, which also named John Laurinaitis, a former W.W.E. executive, and the company itself as defendants, says that Mr. McMahon and Mr. Laurinaitis had once taken turns raping Ms. Grant, among numerous other allegations.
Mr. McMahon eventually pressured Ms. Grant to sign a nondisclosure agreement in exchange for $3 million, according to the complaint, but paid her only $1 million. The lawsuit also alleges that a number of high-ranking W.W.E. employees and board members, who were not named in the complaint, were aware of Mr. McMahon’s behavior, raising questions about who knew what, and when.
In a statement released after his resignation, Mr. McMahon called Ms. Grant’s lawsuit a “vindictive distortion of the truth” and said he looked forward to clearing his name. But he said he had decided to resign “out of respect” for TKO, W.W.E. and their employees and wrestlers.