UPDATE 1/25 6:00 p.m.
Vince McMahon has denied the sexual assault, trafficking and abuse allegations named in his former WWE employee’s lawsuit.
“This lawsuit is replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and a vindictive distortion of the truth. He will vigorously defend himself,” a spokesperson for McMahon, 78, tells Us Weekly in a statement.
Original story continues below:
WWE boss Vince McMahon is being sued for alleged sexual assault, trafficking and abuse, Us Weekly can confirm.
McMahon, 78, was named in a Thursday, January 25, lawsuit, in which a former WWE staffer claimed she was a victim of “physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault and trafficking” during her employment, according to court documents obtained by Us.
Plaintiff Janel Grant alleged that McMahon displayed an “increasing lack of boundaries” after they met in 2019. “During several meetings that were ostensibly about a potential job at WWE, he greeted her in his underwear, touched her, repeatedly asked for hugs, and spent hours sharing intimate details about his personal life,” Grant claimed, per court docs.
According to Grant, McMahon “pushed” her to engage in a physical relationship in exchange for a job at WWE. She allegedly feared “negative consequences” if she turned him down and thus “[succumbed] to the pressure.”
Amid Grant’s employment, McMahon allegedly shared sexually explicit photographs of her with other men within the WWE and he had “increasingly depraved sexual demands.” She was supposedly coerced into having sex with other staffers at the company headquarters during working hours, including WWE general manager John Laurinaitis, who is also named in the lawsuit along with the corporation as a whole.
“McMahon also subjected Ms. Grant to acts of extreme cruelty and degradation that caused Ms. Grant to disassociate and/or become numb to reality in order to survive the horrific encounters,” the docs also claim, alleging that McMahon defecated on her in the middle of a threesome.
McMahon and Laurinaitis, 61, have also been accused of sexually assaulting Grant, despite her pleas for them to stop. She also claimed the WWE knew about the “wrongdoing” and attempted to cover it up, McMahon attempting to silence her with a nondisclosure agreement. McMahon also allegedly “attempted to traffic her to a WWE star.”
“Defendants’ predatory conduct has left Ms. Grant crippled, both physically and mentally, including from debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal ideation,” the court filing reads. “These symptoms led to her termination from her subsequent job running her building’s operations due to her inability to leave her home for weeks at a time.”
Grant is seeking a jury trial. Neither McMahon, Laurinaitis nor the WWE have publicly addressed the claims. Us has reached out for comment.
“Today’s complaint seeks to hold accountable two WWE executives who sexually assaulted and trafficked Plaintiff Janel Grant, as well as the organization that facilitated or turned a blind eye to the abuse and then swept it under the rug,” Grant’s attorney, Ann Callis, tells Us in a statement. “She is an incredibly private and courageous person who has suffered deeply at the hands of Mr. McMahon and Mr. Laurinaitis. Ms. Grant hopes that her lawsuit will prevent other women from being victimized. The organization is well aware of Mr. McMahon’s history of depraved behavior, and it’s time that they take responsibility for the misconduct of its leadership.”
WWE’s parent company, TKO, has asserted that they are “internally” addressing the situation.
“Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE,” a TKO spokesperson tells Us un a statement. “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.”
McMahon was previously accused of misconduct in June 2022 after a former employer claimed that the former pro wrestler paid them a $3 million settlement to conceal an alleged affair. McMahon, who denied the accusations at the time, voluntarily stepped down as the CEO of WWE and Chairman of the board for the duration of an internal investigation.
Vince’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, took over in his place. (Vince and wife Linda McMahon share daughter Stephanie, 47, and son Shane, 54.)
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).