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Former WWE Employee Files Lawsuit Accusing CEO, Vince McMahon, of Sexual Abuse and Trafficking

Emanuel Shirazi

WWE founder, Vince McMahon, has been sued by a former employee alleging abuse and sexual exploitation.  On January 25, 2024, Janel Grant, a former WWE employee, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut naming McMahon, WWE and former head of talent relations John Laurinaitis as defendants.

She alleges—among other salacious accusations—that McMahon trafficked her to other prospective wresters in order to secure deals.  And by doing so, violated the Trafficking Victims Prevention Act, including claims of civil battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress related to sexual and emotional abuse Grant had endured while she was employed by WWE.

Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis allegedly engaged in sexual assault and the trafficking of Grant on WWE property while utilizing WWE funding. According to Grant, they were both involved in this behavior for their own pleasure and to secure talent deals with prospective wrestlers that were being recruited. Grant states in the lawsuit that McMahon “repeatedly used sex toys named after other WWE employees, wrestlers and performers to sexually groom Ms. Grant for trafficking to those same people.” McMahon would also pamper Ms. Grant with gifts and make empty promises regarding work promotions, while sharing explicit content with many unknown individuals and coordinating sexual acts with other WWE employees. Ms. Grant states her job and reputation were constantly threatened by Vince McMahon if she did not agree to his depraved sexual demands.

Grant and McMahon met in March 2019 while living in the same apartment building. Allegedly, McMahon had been pressuring Ms. Grant for sexual relations and once she succumbed, she was hired by him to work at WWE. Ms. Grant began working in WWE’s legal department as an ‘administrator-coordinator’, a position that had been created by McMahon. Later, Grant was transferred to the talent relations department and was instructed to report to John Laurinaitis. During her employment, McMahon would bring in individuals to have sexual relations with Ms. Grant, direct Ms. Grant to visit Laurinaitis in the morning to engage in sexual encounters and expected Ms. Grant to partake in this sexual activity at the WWE headquarters during work hours.

According to lawsuit, on May 9, 2020, Ms. Grant had been partaking in a threesome with McMahon and a friend of his, when McMahon defecated on her hair and demanded her to continue pleasuring his friend while he went to shower. This is one of the many examples of McMahon’s severe sexual depravity. In June 2021, Ms. Grant was sexually assaulted by McMahon and Laurinaitis inside of Laurinaitis’ office. They forcibly restrained her and touched her while she begged for them to stop. They would take turns restraining her while saying ‘No means yes’ and ‘Take it, bitch.’

Once McMahon’s wife found out about his relationship with Ms. Grant, Grant was forced to resign from her position and to sign an NDA. She had been told that McMahon would protect her financially and reputationally, and pay her $3 million, yet he refused to pay the amount to Ms. Grant while claiming that she had leaked information to the media. Ms. Grant received a payment of $1 million in February 2022 but did not receive any further payments.

The lawsuit filed by Ms. Grant seeks unspecified monetary damages and a declaratory judgment stating that the NDA signed by her while employed by WWE is void and unenforceable.
McMahon had stepped down as WWE’s CEO in June 2022 due to an investigation conducted by the company’s board. WWE’s chief executive had been allegedly sending payments to women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Payments totaling $19.6 million had been sent in relation to the alleged sexual misconduct. McMahon paid WWE $17.4 million to cover the costs of the investigation.

In January 2023, McMahon returned as executive chairman to pilot the sale of the company. WWE merged with UFC last year to form TKO Group Holdings as a separately traded public company. McMahon became executive chairman of the board for TKO Group in September 2023. However, a spokesperson for TKO Group Holdings, has stated that McMahon has no involvement in the day-to-day operations of WWE. TKO has recently made a 10-year deal with Netflix for WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” valued at $500 million per year. Additionally, TKO Group announced that Dwayne Johnson has joined the board and gained ownership of the trademarked name “The Rock”.

Right after the lawsuit was filed, on January 29, 2024, McMahon resigned from his role as TKO executive chairman and from his position on the board of directors, stating:

“I stand by my prior statement that Ms. Grant’s lawsuit is replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and is a vindictive distortion of the truth,” McMahon said in the statement shared on ESPN. “I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations, and look forward to clearing my name.”

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