A Black female writer has filed a lawsuit against WWE, Vince McMahon, and others, alleging discrimination and retaliation after she raised concerns about “offensively racist and stereotypical jargon” in scripts for Black wrestlers and other characters.
Britney Abrahams, who worked as a writer for WWE SmackDown! and WWE Monday Night RAW in 2020, claims that she made multiple complaints about the scripts, which were discussed in Slack channels that included McMahon and his daughter, Stephanie McMahon.
Abrahams alleges that she was eventually terminated from her position after taking home a WrestleMania 38-branded chair, despite it being a “common practice that White male writers weren’t punished for.”
According to Abrahams, one of the instances of racist jargon in the scripts involved Black female wrestler Bianca Belair being directed to say “Uh-Uh! Don’t make me take off my earrings and beat you’re a–!” There was also an incident involving Black male wrestler Apollo Crews, who was directed to speak with a “stereotypical and exaggerated Nigerian accent.” Abrahams claims that she faced backlash for speaking up about these issues, but the script was only canned when a White writer pointed out that it could “perpetuate harmful stereotypes that would offend viewers.”
Abrahams also alleges that a Muslim wrestler’s secret was scripted to be that he was “behind the 9/11 attacks,” and that when she raised concerns about this, she was met with dismissive comments from vice president Christine Lubrano.
According to Abrahams, Lubrano said “wacky things are said in the writer’s room all the time!” and “no woman worked on the writer’s team!” before suggesting that the offensive content was necessary to make waves in the company.
Abrahams claims that she was fired in retaliation for opposing script suggestions like these, following the WrestleMania chair situation in April 2022.
She is now seeking reinstatement, damages, and more.
This lawsuit comes as Vince McMahon faces litigation for alleged rape and sexual assault of employees.
McMahon returned to the WWE board seeking a sale of WWE, which also came to light as a merge with Endeavor, the company that also owns UFC.
Together, the merger would create an enterprise worth $21.4 billion, per Bloomberg Law.