Former WWE Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis is a co-defendant in the Vince McMahon sex trafficking lawsuit that was filed last week by former WWE employee Janel Grant.
The lawsuit alleges that McMahon and Laurinaitis engaged in sexual assault and trafficking of Grant. It claims there was “the expectation, from both McMahon and Laurinaitis, that she engage with Laurinaitis sexually, both physically and with explicit content” following her transfer to his department, and also claims there was a schedule of when she was to have sex with Laurinaitis and other men, both in and out of the WWE office. The lawsuit specifically describes an incident where Grant was raped in a locked office by McMahon and Laurinaitis, with them responding to her pleas to stop by saying “No means yes” and “Take it, bitch.” You can read the full lawsuit here for a more complete description of the allegations.
Edward Brennan, the lawyer for Laurinaitis, issued a statement to VICE News today denying the allegations against John and asserting that he’s a victim:
“Mr. Laurinaitis denies the allegations in the misguided complaint and will be vigorously defending these charges in Court, not the media. Like the Plaintiff, Mr. Laurinaitis is a victim in this case, not a predator. The truth will come out.”
Brennan indicates that Laurinaitis is a victim who was following Vince’s demands out of fear of negative consequences if he refused:
“Read the allegations. Read the Federal Statute. Power, control, employment supervisory capacity, dictatorial sexual demands with repercussions if not met. Count how many times in the complaint Vince exerts control over both of them.”
That Laurinaitis claims to be a victim in this manner presumably means he might corroborate at least some of the allegations made in the lawsuit.
It’s noted in the article on VICE News that TKO Group Holdings and Janel Grant’s lawyer did not immediately respond to requests to comment on Brennan’s statement.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, confidential support is available by calling 800.656.HOPE, and links to other resources can be found here.