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Former WWE wrestler Ashley Massaro alleged that WWE management knew about and concealed her assertion of being raped in Kuwait, a claim the company denied. Now, a former high-ranking executive has come forward stating he was aware of the situation.

Vince McMahon faces accusations of concealing the reported rape of a WWE wrestler, who later died by apparent suicide, at a military base in Kuwait, as well as allegations of sexual harassment towards her. These claims stem from legal documents and individuals familiar with her situation. John Laurinaitis, a former WWE executive and co-defendant with McMahon in a contentious civil sex trafficking lawsuit, is also implicated. While his lawyer contested the term “cover-up,” it was confirmed that Laurinaitis was aware of the rape allegations, contradicting WWE’s assertion that executives were unaware.

In a sworn affidavit released by her lawyer in 2019, former wrestler Ashley Massaro detailed being injected with a paralyzing drug and raped by someone posing as a U.S. Army doctor during a WWE tour in Kuwait in 2006. Massaro further alleged that high-ranking executives, including McMahon and Laurinaitis, advised her to keep quiet about the incident to maintain the company’s relationship with the military.

A revelation by SMStudios Investigators indicates that the Naval Criminal Intelligence Service initiated an investigation into Massaro’s allegations in June 2019, closing it in January 2020. Additional details were not immediately available but could be pursued through the Freedom of Information Act.

Subsequent information has emerged supporting some of Massaro’s assertions and undermining WWE’s denials. Former WWE wrestler Paul London, who dated Massaro during their time with the company, has alleged that Massaro herself was a victim of McMahon’s sexual misconduct. These allegations take on new significance in light of a civil lawsuit alleging that McMahon and Laurinaitis raped a WWE employee, with McMahon allegedly coercing her into signing a non-disclosure agreement to cover it up (both have denied these allegations).

London, speaking on a recent podcast, expressed little surprise at the recent accusations against McMahon, likening WWE to the NXVIM cult led by convicted sex trafficker Keith Raniere.


Laurinaitis’ lawyer, Edward Brennan, strongly refuted any suggestion that his client participated in covering up an alleged rape, stating it was a fabrication. He clarified that while Laurinaitis, like other upper-level management, became aware of the allegations, he ensured that all appropriate WWE procedures were followed, including providing privacy for the alleged victim. Brennan objected to the characterization of a cover-up, emphasizing that there was no concerted effort to conceal or aid in the alleged rape.

A spokesperson for TKO, WWE’s parent company, declined to provide comment, and legal representation for McMahon did not respond to inquiries for comment. Neither McMahon nor Laurinaitis currently maintains ties with WWE, with McMahon resigning as chairman of TKO the day after the sex trafficking lawsuit was filed.

Massaro’s journey to success in WWE was unorthodox and, as she detailed in her affidavit, fraught with mistreatment from the outset. In 2005, she participated in the Diva Search, a reality competition featured on the flagship Raw program. Winning the competition earned Massaro a WWE contract despite her lack of training. She immediately joined Raw as a wrestler, a role demanding rigorous training to execute maneuvers safely, even though wrestling outcomes are predetermined. Over the subsequent three years, she served as both a wrestler and valet, representing WWE as a Survivor contestant and Playboy model before her release from the company in 2008.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW6MQrfCQnw

In 2016, Massaro became involved in a lawsuit alongside several former wrestlers against McMahon and WWE, seeking compensation for traumatic brain injuries they allegedly sustained during their wrestling careers. According to court documents, Massaro stated she had been sexually assaulted in Kuwait and that WWE doctor Ferdinand Rios had informed “WWE executives,” who later met with Massaro to express regret for their oversight but convinced her not to report the incident to authorities.

The following month, WWE countered these claims, dismissing them as “stale and baseless allegations” and denying that Massaro ever reported a sexual assault to anyone affiliated with WWE. Instead, they suggested she had only mentioned an “inappropriate pelvic exam” by the doctor. A judge dismissed the case in 2018, leading to ongoing appeals by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Konstantine Kyros.

Massaro’s death in May 2019 brought renewed attention to the case. Kyros released her sworn affidavit from November 2017, detailing the alleged rape and WWE’s response. In the affidavit, Massaro recounted events from a 2006 WWE tour, stating that she was incapacitated by a drug injection before being sexually assaulted by a man posing as a military doctor. Despite being conscious during the assault, she was unable to defend herself. Massaro alleged that after returning to the U.S., WWE executives, including McMahon and Laurinaitis, urged her to keep the incident confidential to maintain the company’s relationship with the military.

WWE vehemently denied these claims, stating that neither McMahon nor any company executives were informed of any sexual assault allegations by Massaro or anyone else. However, Laurinaitis’s lawyer admitted that Laurinaitis became aware of the allegations at some point, contradicting WWE’s denial.

In the aftermath of Massaro’s death, discussions about her experiences continued within the wrestling community. Various podcasts and media outlets provided platforms for insiders to share their perspectives. Paul London, who had a personal relationship with Massaro during their time in WWE, spoke out about her experiences, alleging that McMahon had made advances towards her and describing WWE as a toxic environment.

Further corroboration of Massaro’s claims emerged through various sources, including her cousin, best friend, and unnamed individuals. Ferdinand Rios, the WWE doctor whom Massaro confided in, confirmed that Massaro had told him about the assault, though he recalled Laurinaitis being already aware of the allegations.

The conflicting accounts and ongoing legal battles highlight the complexity of Massaro’s case and the challenges faced by those seeking justice within the wrestling industry.

 

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