WWE’s Treatment of Wrestler’s Rape Condemned After Her Suicide
“I was completely helpless to defend myself against this attack as the drug he injected rendered me temporarily paralyzed.”
Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler Ashley Massaro was found dead in her New York apartment earlier this month in what has been ruled an apparent suicide. She was with the company from between 2005 – 2008. Shortly after her death her sworn affidavit in relation to a 2016 lawsuit filed by Massaro and 59 others alleging the WWE “neglected its athletes and was responsible for neurological injuries suffered in the ring,” came to public attention and raises concern over WWE’s handling of a violent sexual assault.
According to Massaro’s lawsuit, Massaro was drugged and brutally in 2007 by a military doctor while on a WWE goodwill tour in 2007.
From Massaro’s amended 2016 complaint:
Upon her return to the United States, she was seen by [WWE physician] Dr. Rios who interviewed her about the [sexual assault]. Dr. Rios reported the incident to WWE executives who soon thereafter met with Massaro to apologize for their negligence but persuaded her that it would be best not to report it to appropriate authorities.
Massaro went into graphic detail about the horrific incident in her affidavit:
…Another couple of hours went by and then a man appeared in the sickbay, dressed in an orange t-shirt and cargo shorts, and I had heard others comment that it was his birthday. He represented himself as a US Army doctor but I observed that all the other doctors at the facility had been wearing scrubs so I do not know whether this was true. He was with a woman who was dressed in full military fatigues. While I was still in the sickbay, he approached me and almost immediately administered an IV of an unknown substance in my other arm. Almost immediately after, the alleged doctor and the woman in fatigues moved me into a room that did not appear to be a treatment room and placed me on a table. The woman guarded the door while the man proceeded to inject me with a drug that caused me to be unable to move my body or to scream.
The man then proceeded to violently rape and sodomize me. I was completely helpless to defend myself against this attack as the drug he injected rendered me temporarily paralyzed. Despite being unable to control my movements, I remained fully conscious for every second of the attack. I felt excruciating pain as a result of this man penetrating me by force and against my will, in a violent and aggressive manner, while I was completely defenseless. Each second that went by was excruciating and I have never felt more helpless or been more terrified in my entire life. The experience was a living nightmare.
WWE has been dealing with negative public relations revolving around their relationship with Saudi Arabia, where WWE continues to host live shows and WWE broadcasts are littered with propaganda for the oppressive Saudi royal family. In recent months they have also received harsh critique concerning John Oliver’s coverage of their business practices in relation to how their wrestlers are treated.
WWE denied that Massaro had ever informed WWE management of her sexual assault and released the below statement:
At no time was Vince McMahon or the management of WWE ever informed by Ashley Massaro or anybody else that she had been sexually assaulted, drugged, raped or sodomized by a military doctor with a nurse standing guard while on a goodwill tour in 2007 to U.S. military bases in Kuwait. In fact, if she ever articulated such a claim to WWE, we would have reported it immediately to the Base Commander.
At no time was there ever a meeting with Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn, John Laurinaitis or other company executives in which she told them of such a claim and was instructed to keep it quiet.
A WWE spokesperson also commented to The Blast, “Long after Ashley Massaro filed an affidavit, which WWE only learned of the contents after she passed away, Ashley sent an email to WWE on Oct. 20, 2018 – approximately one month after the Court dismissed all claims against WWE and sanctioned the lawyer who brought the suit against WWE, Konstantine Kyros, for repeated misconduct including pursuing false allegation [as mentioned earlier the 2016 case is under appeal].”
“She was being represented by me,” said Kyros to New York Post. “She never withdrew from the case, she never stopped being my client, and her case is currently pending. It’s not a credible statement that she sent an email refuting the case.”
While the legal battle between the estate of Ashley Massaro and WWE will continue, former colleagues of Ashley’s have opened a GoFundMe in order to raise money for her 19-year-old daughter’s (Alexa Massaro) college fund. The organizers are dubbed ‘The Squared Circle Sisters’ and created a tribute for Massaro to accompany the fundraiser.