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McMahon Denies Wrestler’s Claim

September 19, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Wrestling impresario Vince McMahon provided a verbal smackdown Thursday to a female bodybuilder who claimed in a lawsuit that she was sexually harassed while wrestling for his company.

``You’re just trying to throw dirt against the wall, trying to make something stick,″ said McMahon, chairman of the board for World Wrestling Entertainment. McMahon later called the lawsuit ``a smear″ against his company.

McMahon was questioned for more than two hours by the attorney for 6-foot-2, 230-pound Nicole Bass, a plaintiff who can bench press 315 pounds. Bass, 38, alleged she was subjected to numerous sexual ``indignities″ while working for the WWE in 1999.

Her suit claimed that a male wrestler ``graphically simulated a sexual act″ behind her back; that male WWE employees accosted female wrestlers in locker rooms; and that she was sexually assaulted on an airplane by a WWE executive.

McMahon, 57, denied knowledge of any sexual harassment of Bass. He said the WWE had hoped to turn the bodybuilder into a star, but fired her after five months because she had ``two left feet.″

``She just didn’t have the coordination to develop her skills,″ McMahon testified. ``In our business, she was not a world-class athlete.″


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