After learning that my client Ashley Massaro died (suicide by Hanging herself) today at the age of 39 during her quest for Justice from the WWE, I thought I might actually be physically ill, so overwhelmed I was with grief. Ashley was a wonderful person, she was a beautiful soul whose life ended far too quickly. She cared deeply for her daughter and was loved by all who knew her.
But I am not here to write another eulogy on the passing of a wrestler that I was trying to help. No, I am here to write about her silenced voice and express to the reader the ongoing injustices committed by the WWE that has turned its back on Ashley and those wrestlers (many who have died on my watch) who took legal action against this exploitative company. Read her words Here>>>
Last Fall (9/18) a Federal Court dismissed her claims after reading her detailed Affidavit about her terrifying experiences at WWE. The Court deemed the claims Frivolous, the WWE did a victory lap and turned case into an indictment against her advocate (this author). Her case was pending an upcoming Appeal, like many of her friends- due to her premature death she is no longer getting a day in Court.
Her death should be seen in context of her allegations which consist of a litany of abusive, exploitative practices, failed policies, allegations of cover-ups, unreported injuries, unregulated working conditions all occurring in plain sight. In the the wake of the recent John Oliver Expose, her death becomes even more noticeable, given how she highlighted nearly all of these issues revealed in the Oliver “comedic” expose.
Ashley’s 15 page affidavit to the Judge is not for the faint of heart and it is not intended for younger audiences with its many allegations.
She alleges she was misclassified by WWE as an independent contractor, even though she worked full time. She alleges she received inadequate training and was deterred from learning safer techniques. She alleges untreated concussions, she alleges back injuries, herniated discs, broken bones, and permanent injuries from WWE performances. No workers compensation, No legal rights, no OSHA regulation, no oversight. She alleges she was raped while performing for WWE near a Middle East war zone and pressured by management to keep silent. She alleges her orthopedic and other injuries led to drug abuse that led to WWE Rehab. The WWE’s response: it sends it condolences to her family and fans.
Read her VOICE, Read her Words and Decide for yourself if WWE is an acting in a legal and morally acceptable way. Take a stand for Ashley Massaro.
I knew her, she was a beautiful talented person and I have had my own issues. Thanks for trying to help me and all of US who have given our lives to sports we love and now that we are aging we suffer dearly from the very sports and professions we have given all to but now crippled in so many ways- Jon Heidenreich- WWE Wrestler
I am writing this with a heavy heart.
The passing of Ashley Massaro hits closer to home more then you all can know.
This lawsuit was for the betterment of Professional Wrestling being ignored for what hurts, what goes on behind the scenes, The Code. You’re never hurt.
The show must go on. People do not realize all we go thru to entertain all of you.
Today’s wrestling has all the knowledge out in front of you. They had it way back behind you as well. They just didn’t enforce it.
They did not embrace it. It was a quiet secret. When they asked me what a concussion was, I said you have to be knocked out, I didn’t know you can have a standing concussion, I was tough.
Never been knocked out, until I went to a doctor and she told me according to these tests, you have had hundreds if not thousands of concussions.
Shock, disbelief, but now with an understanding of why things were happening to me. You have people crying out for help in the WWE, but the show must go on.
In Ashley’s affidavit you read about some brutal things. but being raped is not one of the things in the job description.
How do you deal with that when the Doctor knows it, , the boss knows it, the people in charge know it, and your told to shut your mouth for the betterment of the company.
I ADVISE ALL OF YOU TO READ IT. This girl, pretty, great personality, well liked, and you get this garbage.
She is not alone in the treatment she received.. This is just the most disgusting of it all.
Take a look at the CEOs and bosses of the company back then. It was under there watch.
Is everybody making things up ?
Can we all be liars?
Some of those CEOs hold high jobs in the government today.
I have been on the phone with numerous guys looking for help
I tried, but some are not here any more and could not get help and resources of a multi million dollar company who they helped make a multi million dollar company by sacrificing their well being unknowingly
AND if were not employees, WHY DO YOU HAVE A DRUG REHABILITATION FOR FORMER WWE EMPLOYEES?
Where is the one for CTE AWARENESS ? HEAD INJURIES? You get where I am going.
Watching numerous guys on the doctors table out of it, then there all ready by some miracle to go out and perform.
Do you ever wonder how they got that “boost” to continue because the show must go on?
I will not give up my fight..
This is the perfect reason. People like this, people like me who suffer. They had the knowledge, but did not share the dangers of head injuries
IT’S ALL THERE!
. WE ALL CANT BE FRIVOLOUS.
A sad day today as another one of us goes down. Go watch the John Oliver Program. Go to the beginning of this blog and read.
ONE QUESTION, how can this case be in SETTLEMENT TALKS AND THEN TOSSED WHEN THERE WAS A MEDIATION. Something isn’t right here.
Ashley, you were a wonderful person and I am sorry you had this happen. We will keep fighting as your death motivates us EVEN MORE.
Being raped is not a hush hush item that for the betterment of the company, we will keep this under raps. For those of you who knew and left her and did not report it, GOD FORBID IT HAPPENS TO YOUR WIFE OR DAUGHTER.
REST ASHLEY AS WE WILL KEEP FIGHTING…
And for my other dear friends
King Kong Bundy
Black Jack Mulligan
Much love and respect
Don’t forget Owen Hart
and don’t forget Chuck ‘Rockin Rebel’ Williams!
How many more have to die!
CTE in wrestling is real! How much more evidence does the country or do the Courts need?
It has been overlooked, it has been ignored in our world. Well NO more.
No one absolutely no one should hurt so bad they want to take their own life. Ashley Massaro was a sweet little girl maybe 115 lbs at the most, with a past history of concussions, that were overlooked and ignored. Now her child is motherless.
Well it should not ever be overlooked again!
Life is too precious.
As a multi HOF Inductee that has CTE I was let or felt pressured to perform night after night, like Ashley.
Someone at WWE was turning a blind eye, well someone is responsible.
Wrestlers are pressured to perform under duress.
We need a UNION or a governing body to protect the performers. NOW.
This needs to end.
Oh my God.
My heart is breaking to pieces after reading her affidavit.
I”m so, so sorry. It shouldn’t be this way.
WE are part of the problem, too.
“You get the love you feel you deserve.” We allow ourselves to be mistreated and taken advantage of. That’s our “normal.” We’re just “happy to be here.”
We need to stop – for the good of everyone. All of us. To keep ourselves and others alive.
We aren’t a BIG part of the problem…but we’re a cog in that wheel.
Can we at least start a support network (Private FB?) where we can talk with each other about anything, day or night? A no judgment/it goes no further than here place? Like a suicide hotline thing, but for workers? Something? Can we learn anything from Ashley and do something to make it better?
RIP Ashley and it is so sad what she brought to light that she suffered from head, body, trauma from numerous concussions, and injuries! That is of course ignored by the WWE. In the mainstream eyes she may be just another DEAD RASSLER. God Bless her, her,family.
What’s it gonna take to see that something is deadly WRONG an that if was happening in any other form of sport or entertainment business there would be a public outcry. Something has to be done cause it’s getting worse.
As a young kid I obviously had no idea what the wrestlers went through. Being older now it is appalling and you all deserve better. You deserve to be treated like employees, human beings, like you matter to the company and you’re not just useful while you can perform and then when you cant WWE is done with you.
I really hope you all win this lawsuit. I really hope that it helps those that have come before, the present athletes of the world of professional wrestling, and the future. Reading Ms. Massaro’s affidavit I am heartbroken for her and all of you. I am sick to my stomach with what happened to her as far as the sexual assault and how it was compounded by the same people she was trusting to protect her telling her to forget about it. “Sorry it happened, but it happened….let’s move on.” Absolutely disgusting.
I CANNOT understand how they have gotten away with this “independent contractor” garbage for so long and why they continue to get away with it today.
Ashley Massaro’s death hits hard because she was only a few years older than me, lived a few towns over, and seemed like such a genuine and sweet woman. I came very close to going to her visitation tonight and was going to take a half day from work tomorrow to attend the service. I realized that although the visitation and service are open to the public that I wouldn’t be comfortable being there as a fan among her friends and family that are grieving someone they loved deeply. I am also the father to two little girls with a little boy due in October and the fact she leaves behind a daughter hurts my heart,.
I have an understanding of what some of the symptoms are like. I played hockey for many years and had numerous concussions (I too thought to have a concussion you had to be knocked out; never knew until one of my last ones that it can happen from whiplash like motions among other things) and experience depression often and anxiety daily. The last hockey related concussion I had was due to being body checked and having my head snap back. I worked out, practiced, and played in games for three weeks before someone finally examined me. This also adds to why I feel a connection to Ms. Massaro’s death.
I thank you all for entertaining us, the fans, and there is a guilty feeling at being a fan for so long because to us we are watching professional wrestling. We are watching a predetermined match while suspending reality during a show that features some of the most talented and gifted athletes in the world. What we don’t realize is that those athletes, all of you, are sacrificing everything for us and in the cases of those listed above, as well as many others in the past, they have literally given their lives to the business.
Enough is Enough! How many more wrestlers have to die for everyone to wake up and realize there is a problem here? How many families have to be destroyed because of the negligence of the owners of this company? I have watched my brother deteriorate over the years from the abuse in the ring. I have watched and know many wrestlers who have struggled over the years because of this.
Read this Article: On the Passing of Former WWE ‘Diva’ and Whistleblower Ashley Massaro
She will be remembered for her courageous truth-telling.
By Dave ZirinTwitter, The Nation