World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.Vince McMahon and other executives allegedly discriminated against and retaliated against a black female writer for speaking out against “racist and stereotypical offensive jargon” used in the scripts of black wrestlers, including Bianca Belair and Apollo Crews, according to a new lawsuit.
Britney Abrahams’ multiple complaints were ignored and she was fired for bringing home a WrestleMania-branded chair, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
McMahon reinstated himself on the WWE Board of Directors in January and in ongoing faces dispute stemming from his alleged rape and sexual assault of employees. WWE recently announced plans to merge with the UFC, which would create a $21.4 billion business.
Abrahams began writing for WWE SmackDown! and WWE Monday Night RAW in 2020, according to the complaint. She complained about racial and gender stereotyping in the scripts, including ones asking Belair to say “Uh-Uh! Don’t make me take off my earrings and beat your ass off!” and Crews to speak with a “stereotypical and exaggerated Nigerian accent”, but was rebuffed, she said.
WWE did not immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.
She is said to have been the subject of a number of racist arguments after filing a complaint. On a Slack thread on which McMahon and his daughter Stephanie McMahon were included, other writers suggested that a black wrestler should dress in drag. It wasn’t until a white writer noted that it could “perpetuate harmful stereotypes that would offend viewers” that the pitch was dropped, she said.
On another occasion, a writer allegedly proposed that a Muslim wrestler’s secret in a screenplay was that he was “behind the 9/11 attacks”.
Abrahams and other writers complained about the comments, to which Vice President Christine Lubrano reportedly replied, “Goofy things are said all the time in the writer’s room!” and “I know, but look at the waves we’re making in the business.” 4 years ago, no woman worked in the writer’s team!
Abrahams continued to oppose racist and sexist speech, she said, and was fired in retaliation in April 2022. WWE fired her for taking a WrestleMania 38-branded chair with them, but the practice would have been common practice as white male writers went unpunished. For.
She seeks reinstatement, damages, declaratory relief and an injunction restraining the defendants from engaging in such unlawful conduct.
McMahon left WWE’s board of directors in mid-2022, after nearly four decades at the helm, while facing allegations of sexual assault and silent money. But he returned to the helm in January, when he used his majority control of the company to appoint himself chairman again.
The corporate coup has reinstalled McMahon at the head of a WWE royal family that includes his daughter, Stephanie – who stepped down as chairman and co-CEO in early January – and his son-in-law, the former wrestling star Paul “Triple H” Levesque.
The surprise move led to a flurry of shareholder lawsuits challenging the bylaw changes McMahon imposed that allegedly stripped WWE’s board of directors of its power. After McMahon brought them back, several of the cases were dropped, although litigation is ongoing regarding the assault and the silent demands for money.
Cochran Firm represents Abrahams.
The case is Abrahams vs. World Wrestling Ent., Inc.EDNY, No. 23-cv-03109, complaint filed 04/24/23.