WWE's Vince McMahon And More Being Sued By Former Employee Alleging Racist Storylines And Wrongful Termination
The WWE is once again in the spotlight for a controversial reason, not a month after it was sold to Endeavor. Just a year after the company had to disclose alleged hush money payments made by Vince McMahon, it is now facing a lawsuit from a former writer. According to the claims, the WWE used racial and stereotypical storylines during her tenure and wrongfully terminated her in retaliation for speaking out about it.
Britney Abrahams worked for the WWE between 2020 and 2022 and has now filed a lawsuit against her former employer for "discriminatory treatment, harassment, hostile work environment, wrongful termination, and unlawful retaliation against the Plaintiff due to her race, color, and gender." A court document (via Brandon Thurston) reveals that Abrahams mentioned specific racist or stereotypical pitches that made it to television in her lawsuit, which involved Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair and superstar Apollo Crews.
WWE writers apparently scripted Belair, one of the first Black women to main event WrestleMania, to say, "Uh-uh! Don't make me take off my earrings and beat your ass!" during a feud with another wrestler. The suit also mentioned the American-born Apollo Crews being instructed to speak with a "stereotypical and exaggerated Nigerian accent," which can be heard in the video below:
Those are just some of the examples of offensive wrestling moments that can be viewed with a Peacock Premium subscription, but the lawsuit alleged there were other ideas that Britney Abrahams and others complained about that never made it to television. For example, it's written that a writer suggested that a Muslim wrestler be revealed as linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. When Abrahams and others went to Vice President Christine Lubrano and complained about these ideas, they were allegedly told that "whacky" things happen in the writers' room all the time.
The WWE ultimately fired Britney Abrahams in April of 2022 for taking a WrestleMania 38 branded chair for herself after the event. Abrahams alleged that this is a common practice that white male writers weren't punished for and that her termination was ultimately tied to her frequent complaints about racist and sexist storylines pitched and put in motion in the writers' room.
The accusations against the WWE, while shocking in some respects, aren't too hard to believe in terms of misrepresenting superstars' origins given the history of the company. A number of wrestlers over the years have pretended to be from a country that they aren't or even represent themselves as an ethnicity that they aren't. This includes Yokozuna, who was billed as a Japanese sumo wrestler but was actually from Samoa. Razor Ramon was given a Cuban-American persona based on the Scarface character Tony Montana, but in reality, the late Scott Hall, who portrayed Ramon, was born and raised in Maryland.
It remains to be seen whether or not Britney Abrahams will be successful in her lawsuit against the WWE or not. Meanwhile, the company is preparing for Backlash and other upcoming WWE events, so who knows how much attention, if any, it'll get to elicit a response within the organization?
Monday Night Raw airs on USA on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET, and folks can catch SmackDown Fridays on Fox at the same time. It'll be interesting to see what impact this lawsuit may have on the creative decisions made by the company going forward, and if more potentially objectionable character angles and lines play out on television.