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WWE Founder Vince McMahon Hit With #Metoo Lawsuit

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WWE Founder Vince McMahon Hit With #Metoo Lawsuit

A former World Wrestling Entertainment WWE employee filed a complaint on Thursday against the corporation, its founder Vince McMahon, and a former WWE official, accusing the men of sex trafficking and abuse.

Janel Grant, a former WWE employee, claimed in her lawsuit that she was “the victim of physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault, and trafficking at WWE.” The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut.

“Today’s complaint seeks to hold accountable two WWE executives who sexually assaulted and trafficked Plaintiff Janel Grant, as well as the organisation that facilitated or turned a blind eye to the abuse and then swept it under the rug,” Ann Callis, Grant’s attorney, told NBC News. “She is an incredibly private and courageous person who has suffered deeply at the hands of Mr. Vince McMahon and Mr. Laurinaitis.”

Callis stated that Grant hoped the action would prevent other women from being victimised.

A spokeswoman for McMahon stated that the complaint is “replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and a vindictive distortion of the truth.” “He will vigorously defend himself.”

According to a spokeswoman for WWE’s parent company, TKO Group Holdings, “Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE.” While this issue predates the current TKO management team’s experience at the company, we take Ms. Grant’s awful allegations seriously and handle them internally.”

Janel Grant and Vince McMahon scaled

Vince McMahon allegedly pressured Grant

The other former executive mentioned in the case, John Laurinaitis, did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The case alleges sex trafficking, civil battery, deliberate or negligent infliction of mental distress, and carelessness.

According to the lawsuit, Grant met McMahon in March 2019, when he was the company’s CEO, and “dangled career-making and life-changing promises” while engaging in progressively inappropriate behaviour towards her.

According to the lawsuit, McMahon allegedly pressured Grant into a personal relationship in exchange for a promised job at WWE, and she “felt trapped in an impossible situation” in which she had to either agree to his sexual demands or face disaster.

“Ms. Grant feared she had everything to lose and faced negative consequences no matter what happened,” according to the allegations in the complaint. According to the lawsuit, Grant eventually developed a physical relationship with McMahon and was hired by the WWE.

“Despite Ms. Grant’s expressions of unhappiness and attempts to end the sexual relationship — and while she came to understand that McMahon expected the physical relationship to continue as part of her employment — she had no idea how sordid it would become, nor how the psychological torture and physical violence would leave her feeling helpless, isolated and trapped,” according to the complaint.

The lawsuit claims that in 2020, McMahon began sharing sexually graphic images and films of Grant with unknown males both inside and outside of the wrestling company.

“Coercion was inherent in his increasingly depraved sexual demands,” according to the lawsuit because McMahon was CEO of WWE at the time and Grant had an entry-level position at the company.

83098426 john laurinaitis vince mcmahon

McMahon and Laurinaitis Allegedly Attacked Grant

McMahon allegedly arranged for others to have sexual contact with Grant, including Laurinaitis. According to the lawsuit, Grant was expected to participate in sexual behaviour at WWE headquarters, including during business hours.

According to the lawsuit, McMahon and Laurinaitis sexually attacked Grant inside Laurinaitis’ office as she begged them to stop while other “colleagues were busy at their desks.”

Grant also says in the lawsuit that other WWE employees were aware of the situation but “actively sought to conceal the wrongdoing.”

Grant said in the lawsuit that she lost her job at the company after McMahon stated his wife discovered their connection in January 2022 and that he put her under “immense pressure” to sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing Grant from discussing the sexual misbehaviour.

The lawsuit states that she eventually signed the NDA in exchange for payments, which McMahon later stopped making. The lawsuit does not specify the amount or frequency of payments.

The complaint seeks to invalidate the NDA and compensatory and punitive damages.

According to the lawsuit, McMahon allegedly sought to route her to an unnamed WWE star in March 2022.

WWE

Alleged Coverup by WWE

The claimed abuse and predatory behaviour “has left Ms. Grant crippled, both physically and mentally,” and she suffers from “debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,” according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, WWE attempted to “sweep the matter under the rug” following media allegations of McMahon’s involvement in a hush money payment scandal by appointing a special committee or board of directors to examine the alleged misconduct.

According to the lawsuit, Grant said the special committee never interviewed her or requested any papers despite her promise to comply.

“Ms Grant was groomed and coerced by McMahon and Laurinaitis, and the WWE stood by and facilitated efforts to keep Ms Grant employed by WWE to ensure McMahon’s continued sexual exploitation,” according to the lawsuit.

Last year, World Wrestling Entertainment announced that McMahon, a majority stakeholder, will return to the company’s board.

McMahon resigned as CEO in 2022 after an inquiry revealed that he had paid roughly $15 million to four women over 16 years to settle sexual misconduct allegations.

McMahon retained control of the company as a majority stakeholder even on leave. In a November regulatory filing, WWE stated, “Mr. McMahon can effectively exercise control over our affairs.”

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