‘Vince McMahon Denies Defecation’. Some of you saw that headline in Deadline’s January article, and wondered whether you had gone insane.
I won’t elaborate on that particular facet of this saga because I am squeamish; it doesn’t take much to gross me out. If you are as squeamish as I am but want desperately to know the context for that ridiculous headline, Vince McMahon (WWE founder and the biggest name in professional wrestling) organized a threesome between himself, a physical therapist, and Janel Grant, the woman behind the lawsuit.
According to CNN, Grant is suing McMahon for ‘acts of extreme cruelty and degradation,’ which sounds like an exaggeration until you skim the details of the lawsuit. Grant lived in McMahon’s apartment.
The woman was mourning the death of her parents and struggling financially when the building manager introduced her to McMahon. McMahon courted Grant, created a position for her at his company, and asked for sexual favours as payment for life-changing gifts and promotions.
That covers the ‘Sexual Assault’ aspect of the lawsuit. But what about the ‘Sex Trafficking’ accusation? Allegedly, McMahon loaned her out to other men, including executives like Jon Laurinaitis and wrestlers, most of whom have gone unnamed.
The lawsuit mentions an incident in 2021 in which McMahon and Laurinaitis locked the door at an office at WWE’s headquarters, restrained Grant, and took turns raping her. It also highlights a former UFC Champion (Brock Lesnar) who only returned to WWE because McMahon offered him Grant as his personal plaything.
While she created sexual content for him, Lesnar and Grant never met. Nonetheless, Lesnar’s reputation is tarnished, which is why WWE pulled him from the Royal Rumble last week. They gave all his spots to Bron Breaker.
If you are wondering why Grant is breaking her silence now, McMahon ended their relationship in 2022 when Linda McMahon, his wife, learned of their affair. But he would only cut Grant loose after she signed a nondisclosure agreement, which compelled her to keep his misdeeds under wraps.
In exchange, he would pay her $3 million. For some inexplicable reason, McMahon failed to keep his end of the bargain. He only paid her $1 million. So she is free to speak her mind without legal repercussions.
McMahon has argued that his affair with Grant was entirely consensual. He offered her money for sexual favours, and she willingly acquiesced. However, that defense is unlikely to redeem him in the eyes of the public.
First, you don’t offer a woman like Grant millions of dollars unless you have something to hide. Secondly, remember when McMahon resigned in 2022? He was accused of financial misappropriation because he paid four women $12 million in secret settlements to keep them quiet.
That $12 million belonged to the company, and McMahon was forced to repay $20 million. This shows a pattern of behaviour. Thirdly, the last three decades of McMahon’s career are littered with accusations of sexual assault. For instance, a former WWE referee (Rita Chatterton) accused McMahon of raping her back in the 1980s.
James Farrell from Forbes wrote an article dissecting McMahon’s history of sexual accusations if you want to know more. What does that mean? In most cases, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. However, I don’t think you can apply that rationale to McMahon. His track record condemns him. Fortunately, his reputation is unlikely to taint WWE as a whole.
He resigned mere hours after news of the lawsuit surfaced. Days later, the 2024 Royal Rumble became the most-watched Royal Rumble in WWE history. So clearly, the company is not going anywhere. While Vince McMahon’s career is well and truly over, WWE will probably outlive us all.