Former WWE creative writer Britney Abrahams has filed a lawsuit against WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, former WWE Co-CEO & Chairwoman Stephanie McMahon, and others.
Abrahams, a black female, filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Monday, accusing WWE of releasing her after she objected to multiple instances of “offensively racist and stereotypical jargon” used in scripts for WWE segments. She says her multiple complaints were ignored.
The suit also names the following defendants: current Senior Vice President of Creative Writing Operations Christine Lubrano, former WWE SmackDown Lead Writer and current SmackDown Vice President Ryan Callahan, current Senior Writer/Producer Jennifer Pepperman, former writer Mike Heller, and former writer Chris Dunn.
The suit mentions segments that Abrahams objected to with Superstars such as RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair, Apollo Crews, Mansoor, Shane Thorne, and Reggie/Scrypts.
Abrahams, who began writing for RAW and SmackDown in 2020, says she raised concern with Crews using a “stereotypical and exaggerate Nigerian accent.”
Regarding Belair, Abrahams says she objected tto a segment where Belair was scripted to say, “Uh-Oh! Don’t make me take off my earrings and beat your ass!”
Abrahams sent an e-mail to Callahan regarding the Belair segment, and wrote, “I know I’m new, I’m not trying to be disrespectful or step on [Executive Producer & Chief of Global Television Distribution Kevin Dunn]’s or anyone’s toes, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that [Ms. Belair]’s scene includes racial jargon and offensive stereotypes, particularly her go-home line.”
The suit claims Belair also objected to the earrings line as she allegedly wrote to Dunn, “3 DIFFERENT TIMES THAT I DON’T WANT TO SAY THAT LINE! BUT HE NEVER LISTENS TO ME! HE PUTS THAT LINE IN EVERY WEEK.”
Belair allegedly said the earrings line would have made her sound “ghetto.”
After voicing concerns over the segments with Belair and Crews, Abrahams alleges that she continued to be subjected to racist pitches on a WWE Slack thread, which Vince, Stephanie and other writers were included on. It was alleged that one storyline pitch involved Reggie/Scrypts dressing in drag, but it was scrapped only when a White writer objected, stating, the idea would “perpetuate harmful stereotypes that would offend viewers.” If the storyline would have moved forward, Reggie, while in drag, would have teamed up with Carmella, who he worked with anyway.
Shane Thorne (aka Slapjack) was involved in another pitch mentioned in the suit. Abrahams alleged that Thorne, who is from Australia, would have worked a “crocodile hunter” gimmick and then he would hunt Reggie “for fun.”
The suit noted, “In a nutshell, the said hunting gimmick pitch for new wrestlers, Shane Thorne, and Reggie was, ‘since Shane is Australian, we should make him a crocodile hunter, and instead of crocodiles, he hunts people.’ Holding Reggie captive in cages was also discussed.”
Abrahams also alleged that Callahan pitched a storyline where Mansoor would have been revealed as the person “behind the 9/11 attacks.” Abrahams says she and other writers voiced concerns over this idea to Lubrano, but she allegedly wrote back, “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. Four years ago, no woman worked on the writer’s team!”
Abrahams also made several allegations against Pepperman, including that she “discriminatory treated Plaintiff and other black, and African American WWE employees poorly compared to their similarly-situated white, and Caucasian counterparts.”
Abrahams alleges that after she raised these concerns and was repeatedly ignored or rebuffed, company officials “pretextually terminated” her for taking home a commemorative WrestleMania 38 chair in April 2022, but her lawyer argues that this was common practice, that Abrahams was told it would be OK to take the chair, and that White male writers were not punished for the same offense.
Abrahams is looking to return to WWE. Her suit is asking for “reinstatement, damages, declaratory judgment, and an injunction restraining defendants from engaging in such unlawful conduct.”
Abrahams is being represented by The Cochran Firm. WWE has not responded to Bloomberg‘s request for comment.
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