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Ashley Massaro’s lawyer says her WWE career ended after rejecting Vince McMahon’s advances

Ashley Massaro Signs the April 2007 Issue of “Playboy” at Virgin Megastore in Times Square - March 8, 2007

After former WWE wrestler Ashley Massaro’s death in 2019, her allegation that the company encouraged her to keep quiet about being sexually assaulted by a United States soldier while on a WWE trip to Kuwait in 2006 resurfaced. The company issued a statement denying the claim, which was at that point being forwarded by Massaro’s lawyer Konstantine Kyros.

Kyros represented Massaro along with dozens of other wrestlers in class action suits against WWE related to concussions and CTE. WWE was successful in having those cases dismissed, and accused Kyros of legal malpractice in the process. But Janel Grant’s sex trafficking lawsuit against Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis & WWE has provided the lawyer with a new opening to argue his case against the company in the court of public opinion.

He was a guest on NewsNation’s Banfield Podcast, whose host Ashleigh Banfield has been pursuing the story of Grant’s suit since it was announced two weeks ago. Kyros explained to Banfield how the Kuwait cover-up allegation became part of the concussion suit:

“Well, Ashley was in a lawsuit that was part of a case that involved 63 other wrestlers, and they were alleging widespread, abusive, exploitative labor practices. The reason that allegation was part of the lawsuit is because we were arguing that it was a totally unregulated workplace. And she had put that into a submission that was required by a federal judge in Connecticut. And it was an affidavit sworn under the penalties of perjury given to a federal judge.

“So, you know, the military at that time didn’t launch any sort of investigation because effectively the issue was covered up by, you know, by the suppression, by the report that she had made to McMahon, to the lawyers.”

Asked if Massaro shared her story with friends or other confidants, Kyros responded that WWE’s culture made that difficult or impossible:

“This doesn’t come as any surprise to followers of Vince or the WWE because the culture was toxic. So, the sexual exploitation was just part of the overall control. The wrestlers function in an in-group subculture, where they’re governed by a code of silence called kayfabe. And this basically prevents people from speaking out because they will lose their job, they will lose their livelihood.”

At this point, the lawyer added that Massaro was subjected to sexual advances from McMahon and faced consequences for rejecting them:

“And so my understanding from Ashley, and I think this was this is well known to anybody with even remote familiarity with the, you know, the ins and outs of the WWE. I think I believe the allegations were that Mr. McMahon himself was commonly seen kissing the Divas in the rooms and so forth and that when she rejected his advances, she met the fate of many other wrestlers, which was that her career was going to come to an end, and that’s essentially what happened.”

The story Kyros tells about Massaro, who was released by WWE in 2008, and McMahon mirrors one which has come up in coverage of and during investigations into McMahon’s NDAs and the financial settlements made to women who signed them.

He added that the sexual harassment and abuse were just one component of how Massaro was mistreated by WWE:

“In addition to these horrific allegations that she made, it’s important, I think, for your viewers to understand that the wrestlers have been exploited and injured for decades by McMahon. And she had very common orthopedic injuries. She had very serious injuries to her neck, where she had herniated discs. And this type of lack of any engagement with their health care, the health prices that wrestlers are in where they suffer these horrendous injuries and then they end up unfortunately, in some cases taking their own lives.”

You can listen to Kyros entire appearance on the Banfield Podcast here.

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