Warning: This article details acts of sexual assault
WWE co-founder, chairman, and CEO Vince McMahon has been accused of sexual assault and trafficking by former staffer, Janel Grant, in a lawsuit filed on Thursday in the US District Court of Connecticut.
In the lawsuit, Grant alleges that McMahon “dangled career-making and life-changing promises” while making inappropriate advances. Grant ultimately “succumbed to the pressure for a physical relationship,” and gained employment with WWE in 2019, but “felt trapped in an impossible situation; submitting to [his] sexual demands or facing ruin.”
He allegedly shared explicit images and videos of her with others, including what the lawsuit describes as a “former UFC Heavyweight Champion with whom WWE was actively trying to sign to a new contract.”
According to Khadeeja Safdar of the Wall Street Journal, sources have identified that wrestler as Brock Lesnar.
McMahon allegedly recruited other people to have sexual relations with Grant, sometimes with him involved, too. He sent her to visit the other defendant listed in the lawsuit, John Laurinaitis, for “sexual encounters,” including both he and Laurinaitis sexually assaulting Grant inside the company’s headquarters in June of 2021.
Per the lawsuit, Grant was also subjected to “acts of extreme cruelty and degradation,” which included defecating on her.
Upon McMahon’s wife’s discovery of the affair, Grant was fired and she was allegedly pressured into signing a non-disclosure agreement in January of 2022. Those payments stopped soon after, prompting her to void the NDA and sue for unspecified compensatory damages.
Despite the initial signing of the NDA, he allegedly continued to exploit Grant by attempting to traffic her to an unnamed WWE star who was in New York City for a live event and TV taping in March of 2022.
The 78-year-old retired in July of 2022 after he reportedly paid multiple women $14.6 million to avoid them airing allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Understandably, 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 lawsuit read. “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.”
Knowing what had happened, WWE allegedly tried to “sweep the matter under the rug.” A special committee consisting of its board of directors investigated McMahon, but Grant was never consulted or interviewed.
Grant also alleges that WWE leaked her name to a blogger, which shattered any hopes of anonymity.