WWE Faces Fallout from Sexual Assault Claims against Vince McMahon
Nikki and Brie Garcia React to Allegations against Stepdad John Laurinaitis
Nikki and Brie Garcia, former WWE stars known as the Bella Twins, have spoken out for the first time about the sexual assault claims made against former WWE boss Vince McMahon and their stepfather, John Laurinaitis.
In a joint statement posted on Instagram, the Garcia twins said they were “shocked and disheartened” by the allegations. “This is something we don’t stand for or condone from anyone no matter who they are,” they wrote. “We want all women to feel safe and supported in the workplace and in their everyday lives.”
Laurinaitis, who is also named as a defendant in the suit, is married to the Garcia twins’ mother Kathy.
WWE Stock Falls as Investors Weigh McMahon’s Liability
WWE‘s parent company, TKO Group Holdings, has seen its stock price fall following the sexual assault allegations against McMahon.
Shares in TKO fell 4.4% on Monday after the lawsuit was filed, closing at $82.73. The stock is well below the level where it began trading last September after the merger of WWE with the UFC in a newly public entity controlled by Endeavor Group Holdings.
Investors are concerned about the potential financial impact of the lawsuit, as well as the damage to WWE‘s reputation.
WWE Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque Downplays Controversy
WWE Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque, a former wrestler known as “Triple H,” has downplayed the controversy surrounding the sexual assault allegations against McMahon.
Speaking with reporters after Wwe‘s Royal Rumble event, Levesque said he was aware of the allegations but chose to focus on the positive.
“Yes, there’s a negative,” Levesque admitted. “But I choose to focus on the positive.” He pointed to a long-term Netflix deal, Dwayne Johnson’s appointment to TKO’s board of directors, and a sellout crowd in Florida for the Royal Rumble as evidence that Wwe is doing well.
Levesque’s comments were met with criticism from some observers, who felt that he was not taking the allegations seriously.
Analysts Warn of Legal and Brand Risks for WWE
Wall Street analysts have warned that the Sexual Assault Allegations against McMahon could pose a significant legal and brand risk for WWE.
Robert Fishman of MoffettNathanson issued a report Monday initiating coverage of TKO with a rating of “neutral” on its shares. He noted that McMahon is Wwe‘s largest individual shareholder and that the lawsuit could lead to “incremental brand and legal risks” for the company.
Dave Meltzer, publisher of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, also criticized Levesque’s comments, saying that he should have taken the allegations against McMahon more seriously.
The Sexual Assault Allegations against McMahon and Laurinaitis have shaken the wrestling world and could have a lasting impact on WWE.