CNN — A former WWE staffer has accused the company’s founder, Vince McMahon, of sexual assault, trafficking and physical abuse in a lawsuit filed Thursday.
The new, disturbing allegations from Janel Grant, who worked at WWE’s headquarters, come more than a year after the conclusion of a WWE-appointed special committee investigation into McMahon’s alleged misconduct while serving as chairman and CEO of the company.
McMahon retired from his role amid the investigation in July 2022 but has since returned as chair of WWE’s parent company.
In the lawsuit filed in Connecticut district court, Grant alleged that McMahon promised a job – and later promotions – at WWE in exchange for sex.
Grant’s lawsuit also includes allegations that McMahon trafficked her to other men inside and outside of the company, including John Laurinaitis, a former wrestler who worked in the company’s talent relations department who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
At the end of her employment and their sexual relationship, McMahon allegedly pressured Grant into signing a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for payments over several years totaling $3 million, according to the lawsuit.
In a statement, WWE’s parent company, TKO Group Holdings, said McMahon does not control TKO or oversee day-to-day operations at WWE. Led by McMahon, WWE and UFC, a mixed-martial arts entertainment competitor, announced in April 2023 that they would combine to form TKO.
“While this matter pre-dates our TKO executive team’s tenure at the company, we take Ms. Grant’s horrific allegations very seriously and are addressing this matter internally,” a TKO spokesperson said.
In a statement to Deadline, a spokesperson for McMahon said the lawsuit was “replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and a vindictive distortion of the truth.”
“He will vigorously defend himself,” the spokesperson said.
Attempts by CNN to reach John Laurinaitis did not yield a response …