Vince McMahon, already facing a bombshell sexual assault and trafficking lawsuit, is also being accused of covering up the alleged rape of one of his former female talents — who later died by suicide — as well as sexually harassing her.
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John Laurinitis, the former head of Talent Relations and a co-defendant in the suit brought forth by former WWE employee Janel Grant, was also implicated, according to VICE News.
Laurinitis and “most upper-level management” in WWE were aware of the allegations — Massaro, in a sworn affidavit released after her death in 2019, said she was injected with a paralytic drug and raped by a man who claimed to be a U.S. Army doctor on a base in Kuwait, while the WWE was on tour there in 2006 — according to Laurinitis’ lawyer, who objected to the term “cover-up.”
WWE previously claimed that execs were unaware of Massaro’s allegations.
“He told me not to let one bad experience ruin the good work they were doing,” Massaro said of McMahon in the affidavit, per VICE News.
The Naval Criminal Intelligence Service opened up an investigation into the alleged rape in June 2019 but closed it a few months later, VICE News reported.
Massaro’s lawyer Konstantine Kryos has claimed Massaro’s WWE career ended when she denied McMahon’s advances. Her ex-boyfriend, former WWE wrestler Paul London, has also said on the Cafe de Rene with Rene Dupree podcast that Massaro was a victim of McMahon’s sexual misconduct.
“And so my understanding from Ashley, and I think this was this is well known to anybody with even remote familiarity with the, you know, the ins and outs of the WWE,” Kryos said on NewsNation’s Banfield Podcast last week. ”I think I believe the allegations were that Mr. McMahon himself was commonly seen kissing the Divas in the rooms and so forth and that when she rejected his advances, she met the fate of many other wrestlers, which was that her career was going to come to an end, and that’s essentially what happened.”
McMahon has resigned from TKO, the WWE’s parent company. Both he and Laurinitis deny the allegations in Grant’s lawsuit.
“Any allegations that Mr. Laurinaitus helped to cover up an alleged rape allegation is an outright lie,” his lawyer Edward Brennan said. “Johnny, like most upper-level management at some time became aware of the allegations and ensured all proper WWE protocols were followed, including privacy for the alleged victim. We object to the use of the term cover up as no such plan or plot ever took place to hide or assist in the alleged rape.”