As well as revealing that Vince McMahon was the subject of a Grand Jury Subpoena, WWE has commented on an ongoing lawsuit.
As part of the WWE’s second quarter 2023 financial filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company gave an update on the antitrust lawsuit launched against them by MLW.
Among other accusations, MLW claims WWE engaged in “unfair business practices” including interfering with contracts and poaching talent. For its part, WWE believes the claims to be “without merit” and will defend itself “vigorously”. The company’s response to the complaint is due by August 14th.
On January 11, 2022, a complaint was filed against the Company by MLW Media LLC (“MLW”), captioned MLW Media LLC v. World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., No. 5:22-cv-00179-EJD (N.D. Cal.) alleging that the Company supposedly interfered with MLW’s contractual relationship with Tubi, a streaming service owned by Fox Corp., and MLW’s prospective economic advantage with respect to its relationship with VICE TV, and supposedly engaged in unfair business practices in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and California law.
Such supposedly unfair business practices are alleged to include cutting off competitors’ access to licensing opportunities, interfering with contracts, poaching talent, and eliminating price competition.
On February 13, 2023, the court dismissed all MLW’s claims, allowing MLW leave to amend. On March 6, 2023, MLW filed its first amended complaint. On April 7, 2023, the Company moved to dismiss all claims asserted in the first amended complaint which was denied by the court on June 15, 2023. WWE’s answer to the amended complaint is due on August 14, 2023 and the court has lifted its stay on discovery.
The Company believes that all claims in the lawsuit are without merit and intends to defend itself vigorously against them.
Vince McMahon served with federal grand jury subpoena
Another major story coming out of the financial filings was that a search warrant was executed Vince McMahon on July 17th and the WWE Executive Chairman was also served a federal grand jury subpoena. However, the filing notes that no charges have been brought in the investigations.
McMahon has since issued a statement to employees in which he denied any “intentional wrongdoing.”