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Former writer sues Vince McMahon & WWE, alleges she was fired for objecting to racist creative pitches

We haven’t heard much lately about the investor lawsuits that were brought against Vince McMahon & WWE over the sexual misconduct/hush money investigation that led to McMahon’s brief retirement, or the way in which he forced his way back into power after that investigation was completed. But a new lawsuit shines a spotlight on a different aspect of corporate culture McMahon and his company have been criticized for over the years.

Bloomberg Law reports that Britney Abrahams, a Black woman who wrote for WWE from 2020-2022, is suing the company. Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, SVP of Creative Writing Christine Lubrano, SmackDown Vice President Ryan Callahan, former writers Chris Dunn & Mike Heller, and writer Jen Pepperman are also listed as defendants.

Abrahams says she was discriminated and retaliated against for objecting to “offensively racist and stereotypical jargon” used in scripts written for Black wrestlers like Bianca Belair and Apollo Crews, and other creative pitches for women & minorities. Examples cited include:

• Belair being scripted to say “Uh-Uh! Don’t make me take off my earrings and beat your ass!“ The suit claims Belair also objected to line on three different occasions, but Kevin Dunn repeatedly put it back in her scripts.

• Crews being told to speak with a “stereotypical and exaggerated Nigerian accent”.

• Another writer allegedly proposing (in a Slack channel that included Vince and Stephanie McMahon) that a Muslim wrestler be revealed as hiding that he was “behind the 9/11 attacks.” Court documents specify the wrestler in question was Mansoor.

• A suggestion in that same Slack that a Black male wrestler appear in drag that Abrahams says was only scrapped after a White writer objected, saying it would “perpetuate harmful stereotypes that would offend viewers”.

• A pitch for Shane Thorne’s “crocodile hunter” character to hunt Reggie “for fun” that included discussions of holding the Black wrestler captive in a cage.

After those and other complaints were raised, the case claims Lubrano responded, “Wacky things are said in the writer’s room all the time!” and “I know but look at the waves we’re making in the company. 4 years ago, no woman worked on the writer’s team!”

WWE fired Abrahams in April of last year. The reason given was that she took a WrestleMania 38-branded chair home with her, but the case alleges that was common practice and that White male writers who did the same were not punished.

The suit, filed on Abrahams behalf by the Cochran Firm in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Mon., April 24, seeks reinstatement, damages, declaratory judgment, and an injunction restraining defendants from engaging in such unlawful conduct.

As of this writing, WWE has not responded to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment on the case.

You can read the filing in its entirety here.

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