WWE

Tom Cole, former WWE ring boy who accused officials of abuse and sexual harassment, has committed suicide | Wrestling News

Tom Cole has passed away due to suicide, according to a post by his brother Lee Cole on Twitter.

Cole worked as a ring boy in the World Wrestling Federation in the late 80s and early 90s and later alleged that Director of Wrestling Operations Terry Garvin (real name Terry Joyal) sexually harassed him. It was also alleged that ring announcer Mel Phillips had a weird fascination with Cole’s feet and Pat Patterson groped him.

Cole alleged that a top official grabbed his genitals numerous times and he was driven to the WWE official’s house where he was asked to smoke marijuana, snort cocaine, and have sex. Cole says the official refused to take him home when he refused the advances and he was fired on the following day. All three of the men accused resigned but Patterson was eventually brought back.

According to court documents, Cole says he was later offered $55,000 to return and work as a crew member. The allegations were covered all over the media at the time, including an infamous episode of “Donahue” with Vince McMahon addressing allegations from Cole and others.

From the June 7, 1993 Wrestling Observer Newsletter:

“Tom Cole, the WWF ringboy who was largely responsible for much of the negative publicity that surrounded the WWF last year, filed a $1.6 million suit against Titan Sports, Pat Patterson, Mel Phillips and Terry Garvin this past Tuesday. This is a long, involved story with many twists and turns. The lawsuit is a three-parter. Part one re-opens the claims of sexual harassment of a homosexual nature by top WWF officials. Cole first brought forth these claims last year in a front page article in the San Diego Union. The story didn’t name any names, but did detail certain situations and had other ringboys claim sexual abuse was prevalent. Almost immediately, Patterson, Phillips and Garvin, who were the three men Cole’s initial claims were about but whose names had yet to be brought out in the public, resigned their positions. Patterson was brought back several months later but Phillips and Garvin never returned. Cole’s attorneys brought forth a complaint that was settled before a lawsuit was ever filed. The settlement was an agreement between Cole and Titan Sports last year in which Cole received $55,000 and was rehired as a ringboy and offered a try-out as a ring announcer. As part of the settlement, according to the complaint, Cole agreed to never bring up his charges again and Titan agreed never to ask him to retract his initial charges. The lawsuit claims Titan breached that settlement agreement by failing to give Cole a try-out as a ring announcer which is largely the crux of the new lawsuit, a breach of contract, and also said Titan continually attempted to get Cole to go public and retract his sexual abuse and harassment charges. The third part of the suit claims that Titan officials attempted to get Cole to sign an affidavit stating things that weren’t true about his brother, Lee Cole, who at the time was going on several radio stations making claims. Tom Cole in the suit claims he didn’t want to sign it but finally did because Titan wouldn’t allow him to leave a room until he signed it and the suit claims he was falsely imprisoned. While this isn’t certain, given the wording of the Titan lawsuit against Phil Mushnick, it can be ascertained that the statements Cole signed claimed Mushnick and Lee Cole had conspired against Titan and induced Tom to create an untrue story, which may have been a key point in the lawsuit against Mushnick. Given the circumstances of what came out publicly during that time, that specific charge of imprisonment sounds curious on the surface since it was well-known publicly at the time of the split between Tom Cole and Lee Cole. This new suit also does not name names when it comes to specific harassment charges by specific individuals as the previous complaint did, and also doesn’t detail incidents of sexual abuse as the initial complaint did which is also curious.”

Lee Cole discussed his brother’s allegations during an interview with Hannibal TV last year.


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