WWE sued by former writer for alleged racial discrimination
A former WWE writer has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming racial discrimination and a hostile work environment.
Britney Abrahams, a Black woman, said she was fired by WWE last year in retaliation for pushing back against racism as well as racist and stereotypical pitches in the writers' room, according to court documents. The suit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
The complaint, written by Derek S. Sells of The Cochran Firm, lists the defendants as WWE itself, plus five backstage company employees and executives Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie McMahon no longer works for WWE, stepping down in January from her position as interim chairwoman and CEO.
In the suit, Abrahams alleges that during her WWE employment, several writers made racist pitches, one of which included the idea of a backstory for Saudi Arabian-born wrestler Mansoor having secretly orchestrated the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Also in the suit, Abrahams claims that a writer continually penned "racist and stereotypical jargon" for WWE Raw women's champion Bianca Belair, who is Black. She also alleges there was a push for Nigerian-born wrestler Apollo Crews to speak with an over-the-top Nigerian accent, and that there was an idea to rebrand a white wrestler as a hunter who hunted down and imprisoned other wrestlers, primarily one who was Black.
Abrahams alleges she and another Black writer were discriminated against because of their criticisms of those ideas and lines.
Abrahams claims she was fired by WWE in 2022 because she took home a commemorative chair from WrestleMania 38 in Dallas, even though that was an open practice among WWE employees and she witnessed white employees doing that very thing without punishment.
"In the years prior to Plaintiff making her complaint of discrimination, WWE did not subject employees to disciplinary action in response to taking the removable, temporary seating, limited-edition WrestleMania branded chairs, from the WrestleMania events," Sells wrote in the complaint.
WWE did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
Abrahams is asking the court for a "declaratory judgment" that the practices she claims violate New York laws, an injunction preventing the defendants from the alleged conduct and financial damages.