Last month, Vince McMahon resigned from his position at TKO Group after a lawsuit from former WWE employee Janel Grant accused him of sex trafficking, sexual assault, and more. WWE and John Laurinaitis are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Now, a new report by Tim Marchmann with VICE News has revealed additional details regarding late WWE talent Ashley Massaro, who tragically passed away after committing suicide in May 2019.
Edward Brennan, the lawyer for Laurinaitis has responded to the claims made by the late Massaro in a 2019 affidavit, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by an individual within the U.S. military during a 2006 goodwill tour by WWE in Kuwait and that WWE covered up the alleged rape.
WWE later stated at the time that neither Vince McMahon nor management were ever informed by Massaro about the alleged sexual assault.
According to Brennan, Laurinaitis was aware of Massaro’s allegations at the time, along with “most upper-level management.” This contradicts WWE’s official statement.
Brennan further said, “Any allegations that Mr. Laurinaitus helped to cover up an alleged rape allegation is an outright lie…Johnny, like most upper level management at sometime 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.”
In her sworn affidavit released in 2019 after her passing, Massaro confessed that she was injected with a paralyzing agent by someone claiming to be a U.S. Army doctor during WWE’s tour of Kuwait in 2006.
Massaro also claimed that top WWE executives told her not to talk about the incident and agreed not to speak on it themselves to protect the company’s standing with the military.
VICE News is reporting that the Naval Criminal Intelligence Service opened an investigation into Massaro’s allegations in June 2019. The case was reportedly closed in January 2020. Further information could not be released, as it would need to be obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
A spokesperson for WWE’s parent company TKO reportedly declined to comment. McMahon’s lawyer also did not respond to requests for comments.
The recent lawsuit against Vince McMahon and WWE by former employee Janel Grant has brought to light new details regarding the late WWE talent Ashley Massaro. Massaro tragically took her own life in May 2019, but before her passing, she made serious allegations of sexual assault and a subsequent cover-up by WWE.
According to a report by VICE News, Massaro claimed in a 2019 affidavit that she was sexually assaulted by an individual within the U.S. military during a goodwill tour by WWE in Kuwait in 2006. She further alleged that WWE covered up the incident. WWE, however, stated at the time that neither Vince McMahon nor management were ever informed about the alleged assault.
Edward Brennan, the lawyer for John Laurinaitis, who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, responded to Massaro’s claims. He stated that Laurinaitis, along with “most upper-level management,” was aware of the allegations at the time. This contradicts WWE’s official statement.
Brennan emphasized that any allegations of a cover-up are false and that Laurinaitis ensured all proper WWE protocols were followed, including privacy for the alleged victim. He objected to the use of the term “cover-up,” stating that no plan or plot ever took place to hide or assist in the alleged rape.
In her sworn affidavit, Massaro revealed that she was injected with a paralyzing agent by someone claiming to be a U.S. Army doctor during the Kuwait tour. She also claimed that top WWE executives instructed her not to discuss the incident and agreed not to speak about it themselves in order to protect the company’s relationship with the military.
The Naval Criminal Intelligence Service reportedly opened an investigation into Massaro’s allegations in June 2019. However, the case was closed in January 2020, and further information could not be released without obtaining it through the Freedom of Information Act.
Neither WWE nor Vince McMahon’s lawyer has commented on the matter. A spokesperson for WWE’s parent company TKO declined to provide a statement.
These new revelations surrounding Ashley Massaro’s allegations and the subsequent legal battle against Vince McMahon and WWE highlight the ongoing issue of sexual assault and misconduct within the entertainment industry. It also raises questions about the responsibility of companies to address and properly handle such allegations. As the lawsuit progresses, it remains to be seen how these claims will be addressed and what impact they will have on the wrestling industry as a whole.