Warning: This article regarding Ashley Massaro’s allegations against Vince McMahon contains descriptions of sexual assault that may not be suitable for all readers.
The pro wrestling world is less than two weeks removed from horrifying allegations against Vince McMahon, John Laurinitis, and WWE coming to light. Former WWE employee Janel Grant alleges that McMahon groomed her to be sex trafficked to fellow WWE executives and talents, on top of other claims. As awful as Grant’s allegations are, they are just the latest of many that have been lobbed at McMahon and WWE in the past.
One tragic story involves former WWE star Ashley Massaro. In a legal filing, Massaro alleged that she was drugged and raped by a United States soldier while visiting Kuwait in 2006 on a WWE visit. Massaro claims she told McMahon about the incident personally, but he encouraged her to keep quiet about it because it would hurt the relationship between WWE and the military. Massaro took her own life in 2019, and her claims came to the surface following her passing. WWE issued a statement claiming Massaro did not inform McMahon or the company about the alleged incident.
In an interview with NewsNation’s Banfield Podcast, Massaro’s former attorney, Konstantine Kyros, clarified how her comments became part of a legal filing that went public and addressed WWE’s claim that Massaro never informed them, or McMahon, about what allegedly happened.
“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,” he began. “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.”
Kyros was pressed on whether Massaro had ever brought any of her claims about WWE’s culture to friends or other people she could confide in.
“This doesn’t come as any surprise to followers of Vince or the WWE because the culture was toxic,” he began. “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.
“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.
“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.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please give a h/t to Haus of Wrestling for the transcription