Samantha Tavel, a.k.a. Candy Cartwright, has filed a civil lawsuit against Matt Riddle, WWE, and former EVOLVE owner Gabe Sabolsky, which was first reported by the Chicago Sun Times.
According to court documents acquired by Fightful, Tavel is seeking $10 million dollars per defendant for actual damages, damages from emotional distress, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.
Fightful noted that the suit alleges that Riddle committed a series of assaults against Tavel from 2017 through January 2020. She alleges that Riddle first sexually assaulted her in April of 2017 in a parking lot following an EVOLVE show. She claims that Riddle bragged about the incident with Sapolsky and two others from WWE who “tacitly approved” of the assault.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, after leaving an EVOLVE event on May 19, 2018, Tavel – who was in a relationship with Riddle at the time – said that Riddle forced her to perform oral sex on him on a bus with other wrestlers. Tavel says that she was not comfortable doing the act with other wrestlers on the bus and said, “No.” Tavel claims that Riddle then put his hands on her neck and said, “What if I just made you?”
“I never thought he would do anything to hurt me and, in that moment, I was terrified,” Tavel said at a news conference on Thursday.
Tavel’s attorney, John Chwarzynski, said that the incident was one of the “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.”
According to the Chicago Sun Times story, Tavel claims that EVOLVE terminated her in January after she refused to continue to perform “forced sexual acts” on Riddle.
Cartwright first made the allegations against Riddle in June. Riddle admitted that they had an affair, but denied any allegations of sexual assault. In September, Riddle dropped a petition for a restraining order against Tavel. Riddle announced on September 17th that he would be filing a civil suit against Tavel, however the suit has yet to be filed.
We have reached out to WWE, Sapolsky and Riddle and will provide updates if we receive any.
WWE issued the following statement to us this evening:
“WWE has not been served with a lawsuit by Ms. Tavel. However, if served, we will vigorously defend ourselves and contest it.”