A rocky relationship has finally broken down: WWE legend Bret Hart publicly turns his back on ex-boss Vince McMahon. More new allegations are made against the fallen WWE founder
For a while, Bret “The Hitman” Hart was WWE’s biggest star, then his ugly break with the world’s biggest wrestling league became legend.
The “Montreal Screwjob”, in which former boss Vince McMahon broke the contractually guaranteed agreements for Hart’s last match in 1997, is probably the most famous scandal in wrestling history to this day. The scandalous circumstances surrounding the accidental death of Bret’s brother Owen Hart in 1999 deepened the rift, which never fully healed despite a later rapprochement.
Now the great fan favorite of the nineties has probably broken up with McMahon for good – out of horror at the massive allegations of sexual violence that have since been made against him.
Bret Hart’s former respect for Vince McMahon is “embarrassing “
“I always had respect for him,” says the now 66-year-old Hart in an interview with the portal Slate about his former boss: “Now he’s spoiled. I’m embarrassed that I once had such a high opinion of him.” He now has “absolutely zero respect” for the 78-year-old.
Hart compares McMahon to Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and even mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer – not directly in relation to their actions, but to the fact that McMahon would probably be remembered by the public in a similar way as a cliché figure of horror, a “bad joke.”
Bret Hart: “I don’t think this is the only incident of this kind of predatory behavior… I think you’ll find that it’s everywhere in [WWE].”
[…]“It’s like Jeffrey…
– Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) February 9, 2024
By his own admission,
Hart no longer doubts the credibility of McMahon’s old and new allegations of sexual assault. He has also personally apologized to former WWE wrestling judge Rita Chatterton, who accused McMahon of raping him in the 1980s. He said he was sorry “from the bottom of my heart” that he had not believed Chatterton, who had already gone public in the early nineties, in the past.
“Hitman” speaks of “sick and disturbing” allegations
McMahon, who resigned as chairman of WWE parent company TKO at the end of January under pressure from new, disturbing revelations, is now facing three particularly serious allegations of direct sexual assault in addition to sex trafficking.
In addition to Chatterton, an anonymous ex-wrestler accuses McMahon of having coerced her into oral sex in 2005, as well as the now filed lawsuit by his ex-office employee Janel Grant, which is rich in disturbing details and also includes an allegation of rape in addition to the accusation that McMahon offered her as sexual merchandise.
McMahon had – as came to light in 2022 through research by the Wall Street Journal – arranged for ex-subordinates to receive millions in hush money for many years in order to cover up allegations and affairs. In the case of the anonymous ex-wrestler, it was 7.5 million dollars.
He also agreed a million-dollar payment with Chatterton following a civil lawsuit in December 2022 – although he continues to deny her accusation, as well as the other allegations of sexual assault. Investigations are underway by state authorities, who raided McMahon’s home last summer.
Bret Hart was particularly disturbed by Janel Grant’s newly revealed allegations, calling them “sick and disturbing” and believing them to be credible. He said he had read the alleged text messages from McMahon presented as evidence in the lawsuit and “they sound like Vince”. Hart also assumes that more cases will come to light, a culture of “predatory behavior” was omnipresent at WWE under McMahon.
The late Ashley Massaro is also said to have made allegations
Just this week, Vice reported on another new allegation: The late ex-wrestler Ashley Massaro allegedly accused McMahon of sexually harassing her and then systematically harassing her when she rejected him. He had treated other female wrestlers in the same way.
The allegation was included in a draft affidavit Massaro filed in a lawsuit against WWE in 2017. Massaro had accused the league of pressuring her to conceal a rape that had been committed against her at a WWE show at a US naval base in Kuwait in 2006.
The allegations involved an alleged military doctor, saying WWE did not want to make the matter public to avoid tainting its long-standing business relationship with the U.S. armed forces. According to Vice, Massaro’s lawyers had decided in 2017 to leave the direct allegations against McMahon out of the lawsuit to focus on the core allegation.
Co-defendant Laurinaitis accuses WWE of lying
Massaro’s case got new attention this week when the lawyer for Janel Grant’s co-accused ex-WWE talent director John Laurinaitis brought new inconsistencies to light.
According to Laurinaitis, WWE was aware of Massaro’s allegations regarding the alleged assault in Kuwait. WWE had explicitly claimed the opposite after Massaro’s death.
In addition to ex-wrestler Laurinaitis, who now presents himself as a “victim” of McMahon’s machinations, WWE top star Brock Lesnar also came under scrutiny, as McMahon is said to have promised him Grant’s sexual services in return for a contract extension.
In response to the negative headlines, WWE removed Lesnar from the cover of a current video game and from its digital trading card game, and a Lesnar comeback allegedly planned for the Royal Rumble at the end of January was also canceled, according to consistent media reports. Lesnar has yet to comment on the issue and has faded from the public eye.