UPDATE: WWE issued the following statement:
“WWE has not been served with a lawsuit by Ms. Tavel. However, if served, we will vigorously defend ourselves and contest it.”
ORIGINAL: The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Candi Cartwright, real name Samantha Tavel, has filed a lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment. Evolve Wrestling and WWE are also listed as defendants in the lawsuit. Evolve previously served an unofficial developmental territory before being purchased by WWE in July 2020.
The suit, filed in the Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that Riddle committed a series of assaults against Tavel from 2017 until January 2020. One of the incidents allegedly occurred on May 19, 2018 on a bus that was leaving the EVOLVE 104 event in Summit, Illinois where she says Riddle forced her to perform a sex act on him.
Tavel says that she and Riddle had a relationship but was not comfortable having sex on the bus because other wrestlers were on the bus as well. Riddle is also married.
During a news conference this afternoon, Tavel says Riddle told her, “What if I just made you?”
Tavel’s attorney, John Chwarzynski, says the incident from May 2017 is just one of a “multitude of sexual assaults committed by Matt Riddle against my client, Candi Cartwright.”
“The WWE has painted a picture over the course of the years that female performers are to comply with certain rules,” Chwarzynski said. “The WWE, since its inception, has hyper-sexualized female performers and they’ve profited from male aggression against these female performers.”
Chwarzynski says a copy of the lawsuit will be given to the Cook County state attorney and the Summit Police Department.
Tavel states that after refusing to perform “forced sexual acts” on Riddle, she was fired by Evolve in January and that she was terminated due to “issues with talent.”
Tavel says that speaking out against Riddle has basically ended her career but she spoke out because “some things are more important than a career.”
WWE and Evolve have yet to comment on the lawsuit. When the allegations first surfaced in June, Riddle admitted to having affair with Tavel but denied the sexual assault claims.