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Vince McMahon sued WWE for sexual assault and human trafficking

A former World Wrestling Entertainment employee has sued the company, its embattled founder Vince McMahon and its former director of talent relations John Laurinaitis for sexual assault, human trafficking and emotional abuse.

Janel Grant filed the complaint Thursday in Connecticut, accusing McMahon of coercing her into a «sexual relationship,» sharing sexually explicit photos and videos of her with male colleagues, and subjecting her to «increasingly perverse sexual demands» — including forcing her to «sexual meeting». ” with Laurinaitis and others — when she was employed by the company.

The 67-page lawsuit came months after McMahon unexpectedly returned as WWE chairman. The wrestling mogul previously stepped down from his role as WWE CEO when he was investigated by its board of directors for misconduct. He is currently the executive chairman of WWE’s publicly traded parent company, TKO.

«Through all of this trauma, Ms. Grant has lived in silence with deep suffering, feelings of exploitation, loss of safety, and fear that she will face the wrath of WWE and McMahon’s army of lawyers if she comes forward and brings to light the horrific actions detailed here,» the complaint states.

«That time has passed and Ms. Grant seeks to hold the defendants accountable for their reprehensible and illegal actions, for her sake and for the sake of others.»

A representative for WWE did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Times on Thursday. McMahon and Laurinaitis could not be reached for comment.

«I have always denied any intentional wrongdoing and continue to do so,» McMahon said in a statement to The Times last year.

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Grant claims in her filing that McMahon «demonstrated an increasing lack of boundaries» — such as greeting her in her underwear, touching her, asking her for hugs and sharing intimate details about his personal life — when he was recruiting her for a potential WWE job in 2019 . McMahon allegedly pressured Grant to keep their «closeness» secret and threatened to call in his «world-class» legal team if he spoke out.

«As McMahon pressured Ms. Grant into a physical relationship in exchange for a long-promised WWE job, she felt trapped in an impossible situation: submit to McMahon’s sexual demands or face doom,» the complaint states.

«Miss. Grant was afraid he might lose everything and faced negative consequences no matter what happened.»

While working in WWE’s legal and talent relations departments from 2019 to 2022, Grant reportedly «understood that McMahon expected the physical relationship to continue as part of her employment» but «had no idea how ugly it would get or how will be mental torture. and physical violence would leave her feeling powerless, isolated and trapped,” the filing continues.

In one instance described in the lawsuit, McMahon allegedly defecated on Grant while forcing her to «sexually satisfy» him and a friend during a threesome. During another alleged encounter, McMahon and Laurinaitis (a retired professional wrestler known as Johnny Ace) took turns forcing themselves on Grant while she begged them to stop, telling her «No means yes» and «Take it, b…».

A number of other allegations of violent sexual harassment and assault are detailed in the filing.

When Grant left WWE in February 2022, the lawsuit states, McMahon allegedly told Grant that his wife «found out about their relationship» and urged her to sign a non-disclosure agreement to «avoid divorce, negative publicity and other repercussions,» according to in the complaint. . McMahon reportedly agreed to pay Grant $3 million in exchange for her silence.

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The complaint alleges that WWE attempted to «sweep the matter under the rug» and that McMahon continued to try to use and trade Grant after she left the company.

Grant is seeking a trial by jury as well as a judgment for compensatory, statutory and punitive damages. She is also seeking a declaratory judgment that would release her from the terms of the NDA.

An investigation by WWE’s board found that McMahon earned at least $14.6 million in «alleged misconduct» payments between 2006 and 2022, according to regulatory filings. His alleged wrongdoing was also investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.

«I am confident that the government’s investigation will be resolved without a finding of wrongdoing,» McMahon said in a statement to The Times last year.

Times staff writer Stacy Perman contributed to this report.

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