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WWE founder Vince McMahon accused of sex trafficking and assault by former staffer

Vince McMahon Accused Of Sex Trafficking and Sexual Abuse in Lawsuit. April 04, 2013 Vince Mcmahon attend the WrestleManania 29 press conference at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Credit: RW/MediaPiunch /IPX
WWE founder Vince McMahon has been accused of sex frafficking and sexual abuse in a lawsuit by a former staffer. (RW/MediaPiunch /IPX) (RW/MediaPunch/IPx)

Vince McMahon is accused of coercing and sexually assaulting a former employee, as well as sex trafficking, in a lawsuit filed in a Connecticut federal court on Thursday. McMahon, WWE and John Laurinaitis, the former head of talent relations, were named as defendants. The Wall Street Journal broke the news of the case.

Janel Grant alleges that the founder of World Wrestling Entertainment pressured her into having sex with not only him, but another employee in order for her to gain employment in 2019 following the death of her parents. Grant then went a step further, accusing McMahon of also sex trafficking at the company.

"But what seemed like a dream in the spring of 2019 quickly became a nightmare," Grant wrote in her lawsuit.

WWE has not responded to the lawsuit at this time. TKO Group Holdings, the parent company of WWE and UFC, did offer a statement through a spokesperson. TKO and Netflix just agreed to a 10-year deal for "Monday Night Raw" on Tuesday.

An investigation by the WWE board in June 2022, ultimately led to McMahon stepping down as the company's CEO. The board was looking into alleged hush-money payments being made by McMahon to the tune of $19.6 million since 2007, WWE reported. Less than a year later, McMahon paid $17.4 million to WWE as a result of those investigations into his conduct.

“Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE. While this matter predates our TKO executive team’s tenure at the company, we take Ms. Grant’s horrific allegations very seriously and are addressing this matter internally.”

Grant accused McMahon of coercing her to enter a sexual relationship with him, and she explained that he "greeted her in his underwear, touched her, repeatedly asked for hugs, and spent hours sharing intimate details about his personal life."

After she was hired, Grant said that her former boss passed around with fellow colleagues and wrestlers explicit photos of Grant. In the lawsuit, Grant states that McMahon "recruited individuals to have sexual relations with [her.]"

"While colleagues were busy at their desks," Grant began, McMahon and another WWE executive allegedly sexually assaulted her. In the documents, Grant said that McMahon approached her and explained that his wife knew about their relationship. At that point, he allegedly pushed her to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

"Ultimately, Ms. Grant succumbed to the pressure and signed the NDA in exchange for payments — which McMahon later stopped making," the lawsuit claims.

This story is ongoing and will be updated.