The founder of the popular entertainment business, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), has recently been accused of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and trafficking.
The lawsuit has been filed through the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut by former WWE employee Janel Grant.
McMahon is not the only person on trial here, as John Laurinaitis and the WWE is cited in the lawsuit as well.
Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon accused of sexual assault, trafficking by ex-staffer
Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis, the former talent head, were implicated in sex trafficking allegations by an ex-staffer. pic.twitter.com/i1voQgGwj7
— GH17TAFKAG (@GH17TAFKAG) January 26, 2024
According to NBC News, McMahon and Laurinaitis allegedly used Janel in order to secure talent deals with prospective wrestlers that the company was recruiting. As far as the company, Janel claims they simply swept abuse under the rug.
McMahon did have a spokesperson announce that the lawsuit is “replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and a vindictive distortion of the truth. He will vigorously defend himself.”
As far as TKO Group Holdings, which is the parent company of WWE, they did have the following statement:
Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE. While this matter pre-dates our TKO executive team’s tenure at the company, we take Ms. Grant’s horrific allegations very seriously and are addressing this matter internally.
The lawsuit ultimately covers sex trafficking, civil battery, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
Janel Grant’s first encounter with sexual abuse by McMahon occurred in March of 2019. As the chief executive, he allegedly dangled major career advancement while engaging in inappropriate behavior towards her.
Grant claims McMahon pushed her for a physical relationship, making her feel trapped at her place of employment. She could either give in to him, or never advance in her career.
Furthermore, the lawsuit states McMahon allegedly shared sexually explicit photographs and videos of Grant with other men, inside and outside of the wrestling company.
The lawsuit states “coercion was inherent in his increasingly depraved sexual demands.” This is given the fact that McMahon was the CEO of the WWE while Grant simply had an entry level position.
The lawsuit, official copy may be found here, is seeking monetary compensation of an undisclosed amount and punitive damages. Furthermore, it is also seeking declaratory judgment that the non disclosure agreement Grant signed as a WWE employment is void.
Grant signed an non disclosure agreement in January of 2022 after McMahon’s wife found out about their relationship. This agreement prevented Grant from talking about the sexual misconduct.
Grant eventually signed the agreement in exchange for cash payments. McMahon eventually stopped making the payments, which is what led to the lawsuit.
Even after Grant was pushed out of the company, McMahon allegedly tried to traffic her to a WWE start in March of 2022.
This pattern of alleged abuse and predatory has made a major impact on Grant physically and mentally. The lawsuit states she suffers from “debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
The lawsuit was filed just two days after TKO signed a 10-year deal with Netflix for “Monday Night Raw”. This deal was valued at $500 million per year.
This lawsuit brings up serious questions about an investigation conducted in 2022 by a special committee. This committee was made up of WWE’s board of directors, which aimed to investigate McMahon’s conduct.
According New York Times, McMahon made payments up to $14.6 million dating back to 2006. These payments were recorded as business expenses, and showed he made additional payments totaling $5 million to two other women.
Jeff Speed, lead investigator, believes the investigation to be thorough. McMahon stepped down as WWE’s CEO in June 2022 due to these alleged payments.
I remain confident in our investigation which included outreach to Ms. Grant and engagement with her lawyer,” Mr. Speed said in an email sent Thursday by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett L.L.P., the law firm hired to represent the committee.
In March 2023, McMahon paid WWE $17.4 million for costs that the company payed for investigating misconduct allegations against himself.
McMahon resigned from the company during the investigation, but did remain a stockholder with controlling interest.
During a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, WWW disclosed federal investigators issues a search warrant and subpoenaed McMahon.
Despite the warrant, no files are against McMahon. He did agree to reimburse the company for the investigation.
McMahon eventually returned to the company in January 2023 as executive chairman. His main job was to ultimately sell WWE. McMahon sold roughly $670 million worth of TKO stock post UFC-WWE merger.