Wrestling promoter sues Geraldo Rivera over rape allegations

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Wrestling promoter Vince McMahon and his wife, Linda, are suing TV talk show host Geraldo Rivera, claiming Rivera's show, 'Now It Can Be Told,' falsely accused McMahon of sexual misconduct.

Rivera called the suit a 'mark of honor' and predicted he would win a court fight.


McMahon filed suit earlier this week in Stamford Superior Court against Rivera, Tribune Entertainment Co., The Investigative News Group and three other defendants. There was no immediate comment from the other defendants.

The suit involves a segment of the now-defunct show called 'Wrestling's Ring of Vice,' which aired on April 3, 1992. The episode featured an interview with Rita Chatterton of Stillwater, N.Y., a former referee with the World Wrestling Federation.

Chatterton told reporter Craig Rivera, Geraldo's brother, that McMahon had forced her to have sex with him.

McMahon 'started pulling my pants off, and he pulled me on top of him, and he satisfied himself through intercourse,' she said on the program.

The allegations were repeated on the April 10, 1992, episode of the 'Geraldo Rivera Show.' The suit says audience members at the April 10 taping of the show clearly heard Chatterton state she was 'raped' by McMahon, but alleges editors removed the word from an audio track.


McMahon denies the rape allegations, and says that Chatterton and former wrestler David Shults are trying to retaliate against the WWF for their dismissals in the mid 1980s.

'It's a mark of honor to be sued by the WWF. I will body slam them in court,' Rivera said through his spokesman, Jeff Erdel.

In addition, McMahon claims that Chatterton and Shults tried to extort $5 million from McMahon to keep the allegations quiet.

Lawyers for Titan Sports Inc., a company owned by McMahon which runs the WWF, were allegedly told by Chatterton's lawyers that she would 'waive her First Amendment right' to speak live on 'Now It Can Be Told,' in return for a $5 million payment.

The suit states Chatterton was fired in 1986 'because she was not a competent ring referee and posed a danger to herself in the ring.'

Shults was fired from the WWF in 1985, after striking TV reporter John Stossel during an interview for ABC News.

'Now It Can Be Told' aired from the fall of 1991 until the summer of last year.

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