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WWE founder Vince McMahon accused of sex trafficking, abuse by ex-employee

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A former WWE employee who claimed she received “hush money” from founder and longtime CEO Vince McMahon accused him of sexual abuse and trafficking.

According to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, Janel Grant, who worked at the company’s headquarters, alleged that McMahon sexually exploited her and attempted to traffic her to other WWE employees.

The 67-page complaint details years of alleged abuse, largely at the hands of McMahon, 77, and the company’s former head of talent relations, John Laurinaitis.

In 2022, McMahon abruptly “stepped away” from the company and announced his retirement after WWE’s board of directors launched an investigation into suspected “hush money” payments and misconduct involving both men.

According to the lawsuit, Grant’s apartment building manager introduced her to McMahon in 2019 hoping to get her a job because she was “dealing with profound grief and struggling financially” after she lost her parents. McMahon was accused of showering her with praise and gifts as he “dangled career-making and life-changing promises” in front of her, according to the suit.

“As such, when McMahon pushed Ms. Grant for a physical relationship in return for
long-promised employment at WWE, she felt trapped in an impossible situation: submitting to McMahon’s sexual demands or facing ruin,” Grant’s attorneys wrote in the complaint. “Ms. Grant feared she had everything to lose and faced negative consequences no matter what happened.”

In June 2019, Grant was hired as an “administrator-coordinator” for the company’s legal department, a position the suit claims was “created for her” by McMahon.

McMahon was accused of sharing explicit photos and videos of Grant with men “both inside and outside of the company,” including “a world-famous athlete and former UFC Heavyweight Champion with whom WWE was actively trying to sign to a new contract (and ultimately did sign that contract),” beginning in March 2020. Sources “familiar with the matter” told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the lawsuit, that the company was courting Brock Lesnar for an in-ring return at the time.

Grant was transferred to Laurinaitis’ talent relations department about two years after she was hired, where she was reportedly promised a promotion to an executive position after a year. Her attorneys claimed McMahon took control of her personal and professional life “to chip away at her identity until it was replaced with his desired role for her as his ‘b—-‘.”

As an entry-level employee, Grant alleged in the lawsuit that she was coerced into performing sexual acts with multiple people at WWE headquarters during work hours, including being made to report to Laurinaitis “prior to the start of workdays for sexual encounters.”

The lawsuit alleged McMahon subjected her to “extreme depravity” in their encounters. In 2021, Grant claimed McMahon and Laurinaitis forced themselves on her and sexually assaulted her in a WWE office.

The suit claims Grant was pressured by McMahon to sign a non-disclosure agreement in 2022 after she was let go from the company. He claimed his wife, Linda McMahon, a member of former President Donald Trump’s cabinet, found out about his relationship with Grant.

“Ultimately, Ms. Grant succumbed to the pressure and signed the NDA in exchange for
payments – which McMahon later stopped making,” the complaint stated, adding that McMahon continued to try and exploit her by “attempting to traffic her to a WWE star” in March 2022.

Grant’s attorneys allege she was left with “debilitating” physical and mental ailments and could not hold down a job after leaving WWE. They asked for a federal judge to weigh in on the validity of the NDA “under Federal and State laws and asserts claims other laws, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.”

Representatives for WWE, McMahon and Laurinaitis did not respond to the Wall Street Journal nor Nexstar’s WFLA when asked for comment.

McMahon returned to WWE after the board of directors probe to oversee a merger with UFC. He is currently the executive chairman of the Board for TKO Group Holdings, LLC, the newly created entity that manages both companies.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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