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WWE President Nick Khan, COO Brad Blum Revealed As Key Figures in Vince McMahon Sex-Trafficking Suit

  • Neither Khan nor Blum is alleged to have participated in or known about abuse of any kind.
  • Also central to the suit: former WWE exec Stephanie McMahon, who is described as knowing of other instances of her father engaging in ‘inappropriate sexual conduct.’
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WWE president Nick Khan and COO Brad Blum are the men identified as Corporate Officers No. 1 and No. 2 in a sex-trafficking lawsuit filed in January in federal court in Connecticut against the company, former chair Vince McMahon, and former talent-relations executive John Laurinaitis.

The suit claims that Khan and Blum, whose names have not previously been reported, were instrumental to a scheme in which the plaintiff, a woman named Janel Grant, was employed “in a completely undefined role, except for the understanding that she remain a sexual slave to be used and trafficked by McMahon within the WWE.” Unlike McMahon and Laurinaitis, the two are not personally accused of sexual misconduct or violence; rather, the suit claims that they and others facilitated and covered up exploitation in ways that make WWE liable under federal anti-trafficking law.

Khan, a dealmaker and former CAA executive who earned a reputation as one of the most powerful men in sports media through negotiating billion-dollar deals for clients like the SEC and WWE before joining the latter as president in 2020, is now the top person in control of the sprawling empire it took McMahon a lifetime to build. He reports to TKO president Mark Shapiro and ultimately answers to legendary Hollywood power broker Ari Emanuel, who took over as chair of WWE’s parent company, TKO, after McMahon resigned in January following the filing of the suit.

“WWE takes Ms. Grant’s allegations very seriously and has no tolerance for any physical abuse or unwanted physical contact,” a WWE spokesperson said in a statement. “Neither Nick Khan nor Brad Blum, prior to the lawsuit being filed on January 25, 2024, were aware of any allegation by Ms. Grant that she was the victim of abuse or unwanted physical contact; nor does the complaint allege that either had knowledge of such.” McMahon has said the allegations in the lawsuit are “baseless” and that he intends to vigorously defend himself. A lawyer for Laurinaitis has denied the allegations but appeared to corroborate them by saying at the same time that, like Grant, his client was “a victim in this case, not a predator.”

The information about the identities of the corporate officers offers a new lens through which to view Grant’s suit. Most attention has focused on the allegations of extreme sexual violence the suit makes against McMahon and his associates; it can, though, also be read as a set of claims about how McMahon made the highest-ranking executives in his company complicit in his conduct.

Front Office Sports independently identified Khan and Blum, as well as the two other anonymous corporate officers to whom the suit refers, by cross-checking the details of the suit against publicly available records like online résumés and corporate filings, as well as information provided by sources familiar with WWE. (Corporate Officer No. 1 is said in the suit, for example, to have maintained a fourth-floor office at the company’s former headquarters, which a person who worked there confirmed was true of Khan.) FOS then asked Grant’s lawyer, Ann Callis, whether its reporting was accurate.

“I can confirm that these names are correct,” she said.

The suit says that McMahon groomed Grant while she was grieving the death of her parents and had her hired into a fake job with the company’s legal department in May 2019. Subsequent to that, it says, she was subjected to “extreme cruelty and degradation,” including McMahon defecating on her during group sex, and he and Laurinaitis raping her in the WWE offices, with the abuse only ending in ’22. This left her, according to the suit, “crippled, both physically and mentally, including from debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal ideation.” 

McMahon presented Blum and Khan (after his hiring in August 2020) to Grant as his key fixers, according to the suit. The first time McMahon met her, it says, in March ’19, he promised Grant, who had minimal work history, that his office would reach out to arrange a meeting with Blum, who was executive vice president in charge of operations at the time. A week later, the suit says, she met with Blum; he “hardly asked any questions,” and before long she had been hired into a $75,000-a-year job in the legal department. In February ’20, the suit says, McMahon told Grant that Blum had warned him “that there were a lot of rumors circulating” about the relationship; immediately after this, she was transferred to another department.

Years later, the suit says, after McMahon and Grant signed a nondisclosure agreement he negotiated on WWE’s behalf without its knowledge—he ended up paying only $1 million of an agreed-upon $3 million—the two had a call he claimed would be the last conversation they would ever have, during which he named Blum as one of the two people she should call if she ever needed anything.

The second of those two people was Khan. According to the suit, in March 2021, Grant told McMahon that Khan had responded to her introducing herself in a corridor by telling her he knew exactly who she was. Later that day, the suit says, McMahon told her that he had held a meeting with Khan and Blum and informed them of the nature of their relationship. McMahon told her, the suit says, that the two men had voiced concerns to him and “inquired whether Grant could be trusted.” (A WWE spokesperson denies this conversation ever happened.)

McMahon, the suit says, told Grant that the two “expressed concern but were ultimately supportive.”

The next day, the suit says, Blum told her that she was being transferred to the talent relations department, where she would report to Laurinaitis, with whom McMahon had months before pressured her into group sex at McMahon’s condo. (She was, going forward, the suit says, expected to sexually service Laurinaitis at his hotel and in his office.) The suit alleges that her sexual exploitation continued for another year. It also says that during negotiations over the NDA, Grant included Khan and Blum in a list of people whose roles should be addressed in the agreement due to their “knowledge of the relationship,” though the suggestion was rejected.

The suit does not explicitly make any claims about whether Khan, Blum, or the other two corporate officers knew of any alleged acts of sexual violence or cruel and degrading treatment.

The person identified in the suit as Corporate Officer No. 3 is, according to FOS reporting that Grant’s lawyer confirmed, McMahon’s daughter, longtime WWE executive Stephanie McMahon. She is mentioned once, in an ambiguous context. 

Grant, the suit says, attended meetings of WWE’s executive committee—something far above her pay grade, and the appropriateness of which she asked Khan and Blum about. At one of these meetings, the suit says, Stephanie McMahon—who is described as knowing “of other instances of [Vince] McMahon engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct”—motioned Grant to sit near her. 

Three months after the NDA between McMahon and Grant was signed, in 2022, Stephanie McMahon, then WWE’s chief brand officer, announced she was taking a leave of absence from the company. A month later, The Wall Street Journal reported on a probe by the WWE board of directors into payments made by Vince McMahon involving NDAs with several former female employees and performers. After his subsequent resignation as CEO and chair of the board, she became interim CEO and chair. In early ’23, her father seized control of the board ahead of WWE’s eventual merger with the Ultimate Fighting Championship under the auspices of Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor. She resigned days later.

Stephanie McMahon did not respond to questions sent via overnight letter to a postal box she is said to control and through a direct message to a social media account she controls. WWE declined to provide contact information for a lawyer or representative through which FOS could reach her.

The person identified as Corporate Officer No. 4, according to FOS reporting which Grant’s lawyer confirmed, is Brian Nurse, formerly general counsel and head of WWE’s legal department. According to the suit, on May 9, 2019—eight months after he’d been hired—he offered Grant a job three hours after having called her to “discuss a legal role.” The next day, the suit says, Vince McMahon told her that he had ordered Nurse to offer Grant the job, and then McMahon sexually assaulted her for the first time, putting his hand down her pants without consent.

The suit describes the work environment in the legal department as distressing to the point that Grant was openly experiencing panic attacks in the office. She was never onboarded, it says, or given any clear responsibilities, and Nurse was “warm with other colleagues but cold with her” before becoming openly hostile—behavior his staff noticed, discussed with Grant, and in some cases emulated. Nurse, the suit says, would even stop and change directions if he saw her in a hallway, and he told at least one other executive that he knew or suspected the relationship between Grant and McMahon was sexual. ln February 2020, Grant was transferred to another division. In November ’20, Nurse was, the suit says, “terminated or asked to resign,” making him one of a number of employees it claims were “forced to resign or were let go if they knew of McMahon’s exploits and failed to assist, support and/or facilitate them.” Not long afterward, the suit says, Grant was transferred back to the legal department, before ultimately being transferred back to Laurinaitis’s talent relations department because her presence in the legal department was, McMahon told her, making it difficult to hire a new top lawyer.

Nurse did not respond to a direct message sent to a social media account he controls or to a request for comment sent to his work email address; a spokesperson for his current employer did not respond to an email asking to be put in touch with him. WWE declined to comment on the terms on which he left the company.

Under Khan, a childhood friend of new TKO board member Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, WWE has achieved unprecedented business success. In January, WWE and Netflix announced a new 10-year, $5.2 billion deal to broadcast WWE programming around the globe, which will bring year-round live content to the streamer beginning in 2025. The wrestling company generated $1.326 billion in revenue last year. WWE, in combination with UFC under TKO Group Holdings, has a market capitalization of just under $14 billion, as of the close of the market on Friday. Next month, it will hold its 40th annual WrestleMania event in Philadelphia.

Do you have information about WWE you’d like to share? Contact the reporters at brandon@wrestlenomics.com or john@postwrestling.com. For extra security, download the Signal app to a non-work device and text @timmarchman.01 or @BrandonThurston.14 there.

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