Vince McMahon denies accusations by Janel Grant, attorney Ann Callis issues response

Photo Courtesy: WWE

Legal representatives for Vince McMahon have issued a filing containing a memorandum on behalf of the former WWE chairman where he denies the allegations by Janel Grant and is seeking arbitration to settle their case.

McMahon is being represented by lawyers James A. Budinetz of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter LLP, and Jessica T. Rosenberg & Jonathan L. Shapiro of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.

Grant filed a lawsuit in January 2024 against McMahon, John Laurinaitis, and WWE with claims that she was the victim of physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault, and trafficked while working at WWE.

In McMahon’s preliminary statement, he vehemently denied the charges levied by Grant:

By publicly filing her salacious, false and defamatory Complaint, Plaintiff has brazenly and intentionally violated a binding contract to arbitrate. The Complaint’s outrageous claims of sexual abuse and coercion are pure fiction—plainly intended to garner publicity—and are flatly contradicted by Plaintiff’s own contemporaneous statements. Contrary to Plaintiff’s false allegations, Plaintiff and Defendant engaged in a consensual relationship during which Defendant never coerced Plaintiff into doing anything and never mistreated her in any way.

McMahon’s side is disputing that Grant was “dealing with profound grief and struggling financially” when they met in 2019 with Grant outlining in her suit that her parents had recently died and had been providing them constant care.

From the memorandum:

Those statements are complete falsehoods. Based on a foreclosure action against Plaintiff and her parents, Plaintiff’s father passed away on April 18, 2017—two years before Plaintiff met Defendant – and his marital status was recorded as “widowed” confirming Plaintiff’s mother had passed earlier. Court records further show that contrary to her claim of “around-the-clock caregiving,” Plaintiff’s father lived in a senior care home in Stamford, Connecticut before he passed away— not with her—and the Grants’ neighbor would bring Plaintiff’s mother dinner and “help around the house” before she passed.

In a statement issued to POST Wrestling & Wrestlenomics, Grant’s attorney Ann Callis vehemently disputed this claim by McMahon:

Vince McMahon has never known a storyline that he doesn’t twist to fit his own shameful narrative. Her father was in in-home hospice during his final days where Janel continued to care for him around the clock. Prior to his death, she had been caring for her blind, wheelchair-bound mother. Using the grief of someone who lost both of her parents is an all new level of disgusting.

McMahon’s team made claims that both were involved in other relationships when they engaged in an affair together and that Grant was living with fiancé Brian Goncalves in the same condo as McMahon:

During the Parties’ consensual relationship, Plaintiff and Defendant knew that the other was also involved in other romantic relationships. Plaintiff was living in Park Tower, a luxury multi-million-dollar building in Stamford, Connecticut with her long-time fiancé, attorney, Brian Goncalves (“Goncalves”). Since August 2022, Goncalves has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer of TelevisaUnivision, and Goncalves previously held positions with Mastercard and HewlettPackard. Plaintiff and Goncalves lived in the same luxury building as Defendant—just four floors below—when the Parties began their affair in 2019. Plaintiff would often visit Defendant at his condominium at all hours, including at 2:30 a.m., to pursue their affair and then return back to her condominium with Goncalves the same night. It is nonsensical that the disturbing alleged acts in the Complaint including violence, coerced sex, and forcing Plaintiff to be defecated on were taking place before Plaintiff returned to her lawyer fiancé four floors below without incident. Defendant was never contacted by Goncalves (who was on the Board of the luxury building), anyone at the building, the police, any friends of Plaintiff, or any lawyer or advocate for Plaintiff at any time about the fictitious, extensive, years-long abusive behavior alleged in the Complaint.

In a separate statement from Ann Callis to POST & Wrestlenomics, they also disputed the status of Grant’s relationship with Goncalves when she met McMahon:

She was not dating at the time. Her ex-boyfriend allowed her to stay in the apartment as she rebuilt her life and resume post-taking care of her parents. She had no job and no other financial support to lean back on.

McMahon’s account in the filing is that they chose to end the relationship in January 2022 with Grant leaving WWE and entered into a confidential settlement agreement. He claims that any disputes to arise from the agreement would be resolved through arbitration, which is the venue McMahon’s side is seeking to resolve this suit rather than in court.

When Defendant learned that Plaintiff, despite her promises, had violated the Agreement by wrongfully disclosing both the existence of the Agreement and their relationship, he exercised his contractual right to withhold payment otherwise owed under the Agreement. In response, Plaintiff sought to harm him. She intentionally violated the enforceable contract with her salacious, false and defamatory public filing. However, the FAA and binding United States Supreme Court precedent—and Plaintiff’s own agreement—require that if Plaintiff wishes to proceed with her fictitious claims, she must do so in arbitration, not in this Court, and that this action be stayed pending arbitration.

The memorandum does not go through all of the allegations by McMahon, although it includes a stern denial of what he is accused of:

For the avoidance of doubt, however, Defendant vehemently and categorically denies all allegations of wrongdoing in the Complaint, including Plaintiff’s outrageous claims that Defendant coerced Plaintiff into unwanted sexual acts, sexually assaulted and/or battered her, trafficked her, and defecated on her. Those are false statements intended for publicity. When the Complaint’s allegations are adjudicated in the proper forum (arbitration), witnesses are called to testify under oath, and all communications between the Parties (including those authored by Plaintiff which she intentionally did not share in her Complaint) are produced, the allegations and claims will be disproven and Plaintiff will be exposed for the liar she is.

The 29-page filing concluded with McMahon’s request for arbitration:

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant respectfully requests that the Court grant his motion and compel arbitration of all claims asserted in the Complaint and stay the litigation pending arbitration. 

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Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.