wrestling / News

Candy Cartwright Sues Riddle, WWE, Sapolsky, EVOLVE Over Alleged Sexual Assault – WWE Issues Statement

October 8, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Matt Riddle NXT Image Credit: WWE

UPDATE: WWE has issued a statement regarding the lawsuit filed by Candy Cartwright against the company, Matt Riddle, Gabe Sapolsky, and EVOLVE regarding her alleged sexual assault at the hands of Riddle. WWE’s statement (per Wrestling Inc reads:

“WWE has not been served with a lawsuit by Ms. Tavel. However, if served, we will vigorously defend ourselves and contest it.”

ORIGINAL: Candy Cartwright, the woman who has accused Matt Riddle of sexual assault, is suing Riddle, WWE, Gabe Sapolsky, and EVOLVE. Fightful reports that Cartwright, real name Samantha Tavel, has sued the four parties seeking $10 million each for actual damages, damages from emotional distress, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs.

Cartwright filed the suit in Cook County Illinois Circuit Court on Thursday. In the suit, Cartwright alleges that Riddle began sexually assaulting her in April of 2017 in a parking lot after an EVOLVE event, that Riddle bragged about it to Sapolsky, and that Sapolsky, EVOLVE, and WWE tacitly approved of Riddle’s alleged actions towards Tavel.

The suit goes on to detail the allegation that Cartwright has previously levied against Riddle: that on or around May 19, 2018, Riddle forced Cartwright to perform oral sex on him. Cartwright says she declined and that Riddle responded by grabbing her by the throat and saying, “What if I made you?” She alleges that it was done in front of other members of EVOLVE on a bus leaving the site of EVOLVE 104. Cartwright’s suit alleges that the misogynistic culture created by the defendants encouraged Riddle’s behavior and accused WWE of condoning sexual assault in the workplace for over 30 years.

Cartwright alleged that she had bookings with WWE and EVOLVE on or around January 31st of this year, and that Riddle had previously forced her to perform sexual acts telling her that she would lose bookings if she didn’t. She claims that when she refused, Riddle told WWE and EVOLVE that he didn’t want her working with them. She was told that “issues with talent” led to her bookings being canceled.

In the background of the laswsuit, it is stated that pro wrestling is a male-dominated sport with misogynistic attitudes, with the history of women in the business being hpersexualized and perfoming in lingerie being mentioned as well as the many allegations over the years of sexual assault. Fightful says that there are some errors in the document, noting that it states Riddle was employed with WWE by the time of the sexual assault on May 19th, 2018 despite the fact that he didn’t sign with the company until during that summer.

Cartwright’s lawyer said in a statement, “The lawsuit was filed against each defendant seeking $10 million each. There’s an issue with each defendant and it needs to be addressed within professional wrestling. WWE has profited from toxic misogyny since its inception. We can only hope the state’s attorney’s office will do the right thing and open an investigation into this matter and press charges against Matt Riddle.”

Fightful reports that they have reached out to reps for all the defendants for comment and were told that lawyers for Riddle at least plan on a countersuit.