WWE’s first female referee who claimed she was raped by former chairman Vince McMahon in the 1980s revealed new details about the incident amid a slew of fresh allegations against the wrestling boss.
Rita Chatterton, who became a licensed wrestling referee in New York in 1984, had previously accused McMahon of forcing himself on her in a limo in a 1992 interview with Geraldo Rivera.
Her allegations were corroborated by former pro wrestler Leonard Inzitari in a new report by New York Magazine — which also delved into what led up to the harrowing encounter nearly four decades ago.
“He promised me half-a-million dollars a year,” she told the outlet in the story out Monday, referring to the contract offer McMahon extended over the phone following her television debut with the then-WWF in January 1985.
McMahon, whose father started WWF, had called Chatterton to tell her he was “impressed” with her work and wanted her to go “full-time” but had a warning for her, she told New York Magazine.
“Keep yourself clean,” he said, according to Chatterton.
“I don’t wanna see you messing around with any of the wrestlers. You keep it professional.”
The wrestling mogul also told Chatterton she’d be on the cover of glossies like Women’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens and Time, so she quit her job as a delivery driver with Frito-Lay and began to pursue wrestling full-time. But the relationship soured when the young ref tried to follow up – and McMahon allegedly raped her in July 1986.
During her interview with New York Magazine, Chatterton refused to go into specifics but Inzitari, a longtime friend from the business, corroborated her story for the first time since the allegations were made.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Inzitari told the outlet.
“She was a wreck. She was shaking. She was crying.”
Inzitari, whose stage name was Mario Mancini, said soon after the incident, he found Chatterton standing by herself close to the wrestling ring and when she saw him, she burst into tears and told him she was in McMahon’s limo when he “took his penis out.”
“He kinda forced my head down there, and I made it known I wasn’t interested in doing that,” Inzitari recalled Chatterton telling him.
“Then, [McMahon] pulled me on top of him,” she told Inzitari and soon, “He was inside her.”
Chatterton told the outlet the attack happened after she asked McMahon to discuss her career and he told her to meet her at a diner after the show.
Later, while sitting at a “big round table” with about a dozen others, Chatterton brought up her career but McMahon told her to keep quiet, she told the outlet.
“[He] put his finger to his mouth, in a shhh sign,” she recalled.
“When I come out of the ladies’ room, McMahon’s standing there … and he says, ‘I don’t wanna talk to you about your career in front of all these people, because it’s none of their business.’”
He suggested the two go to another diner down the street but when she left the restaurant, McMahon said he was tired and asked to speak inside his limo.
“It’ll only take 10 minutes,” he allegedly said.
During her interview with Rivera, Chatterton claimed McMahon then unzipped his pants and orally raped her.
“Vince continued to, you know, ‘If you want a half-a-million-dollar contract, you’re going to have to satisfy me, and this is the way things have to go,’” she said at the time.
“Vince grabbed my hand, kept trying to put my hand on him. I was scared. At the end, my wrist was all purple, black, and blue. Things just didn’t … He just … God, he just didn’t stop. This man just didn’t stop.”
Chatterton told Rivera that McMahon asked how her daughter planned to go to college and said “Of course, she doesn’t have to go to college.”
“I was forced into oral sex with Vince McMahon. When I couldn’t complete his desires, he got really angry, started ripping off my jeans, pulled me on top of him, and told me again that, if I wanted a half-a-million-dollar-a-year contract, that I had to satisfy him. He could make me or break me, and if I didn’t satisfy him, I was black-balled, that was it, I was done,” she told Rivera.
Speaking to New York Magazine, Chatterton recalled what McMahon said once the attack was over.
“One of the things that sticks with me, and always will… was, after he got done doing his business, he looked at me and said, ‘Remember when I told you not to mess with any of the wrestlers? Well, you just did,’” she recalled.
Following the attack, Chatterton told New York Magazine she went to the diner’s restroom and “cried my heart out” before going home and taking a “five-hour shower.”
While she did contact a lawyer in hopes of holding McMahon accountable, she ultimately decided against it.
“It came down that it was my word against McMahon’s, because I took a shower and didn’t go to the hospital,” she said.
“I was scared … He was powerful. It was gonna be him over me.”
When Chatterton first told Rivera her story in 1992, WWE was already in the midst of numerous scandals and her claims were buried in the noise. Soon, she left wrestling altogether and became a youth counselor.
Earlier this month, McMahon was accused of paying millions of dollars in hush money to a female employee he had an affair with, leading to his resignation from his role as CEO and chairman of WWE.
The fresh claims are what inspired Chatterton and Inzitari to speak out after so much time had passed.
“I’m sure others will come forward. Because we’re not the only two. There’s not a doubt in my mind about that,” Chatterton told the outlet.
“As far as wrestling goes, I guess I’m the first in a lot of things … As far as I know, I’m the first to come out with the whole issue of what a scumbag he is.”
Inzitari, who has avoided speaking negatively about McMahon in the past, agreed.
“I’ll tell you why I’m hopping on the bandwagon now,” he said.
“There’s worse stuff than that.”
WWE didn’t return a request for comment.