Coverage: Wynn Resorts CEO under fire for harassment allegations
Dozens of people have recounted a pattern of sexual misconduct by Las Vegas mogul Steve Wynn, the CEO of Wynn Resorts, in a Wall Street Journal article that details how he sexualized his workplace and pressured workers to perform sex acts.
Michael Sheetz of CNBC.com reported that the company’s stock fell 10 percent as a result:
A manicurist who worked at Wynn’s flagship casino recounted an incident with Wynn in 2005, telling the newspaper that he forced her to have sex in his office. Colleagues recounted her returning to the on-site salon visibly distressed, the report says, and she told others Wynn pressured her to take her clothes off and lie on the massage table kept at his office. Those people she told about the incident recounted to the newspaper that the manicurist did not want to have sex with Wynn, but said he was persistent in his demands.
The WSJ said it contacted over 150 current and former employees. The majority of those who spoke worried that talking to the media would hurt their job opportunities, citing Wynn’s vast and powerful influence throughout Nevada and the casino industry.
In a statement, Wynn said that “the idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous.”
“We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits. It is deplorable for anyone to find themselves in this situation,” Wynn said in the statement.
Shannon Bond and Jessica Dye of The Financial Times reported that casino regulators are now reviewing the company:
Gaming regulators in Massachusetts, where Wynn Resorts is building a casino near Boston, said it would review the company’s licence. According to Wynn Resorts, the $2.4bn Boston Harbor project is “the largest private-sector single-phase construction project in the history of the state of Massachusetts”.
“The commission is now aware of, and is taking very seriously, the troubling allegations detailed in the Wall Street Journal article,” said Elaine Driscoll, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
“The suitability and integrity of our gaming licensees is of the utmost importance, and ensuring that suitability is an active and ongoing process. Consequently, the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau will conduct a regulatory review of this matter to determine the appropriate next steps.”
The Nevada Gaming Control Board, which regulates casinos in the state, told Bloomberg: “We’re aware of the situation and reviewing the information.”
Alex Isenstadt of Politico reported that Wynn blamed his ex-wife for the allegations:
In a statement emailed to POLITICO Friday, Wynn said the allegations are “the continued work of my ex-wife Elaine Wynn, with whom I am involved in a terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement.”
“The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,” Wynn added. “We find ourselves in a world where people can make allegations, regardless of the truth, and a person is left with the choice of weathering insulting publicity or engaging in multi-year lawsuits.”
Devon Spurgeon, a spokesperson for Mrs. Wynn, says she has “never sought to renegotiate her divorce settlement” and that the dispute involves a shareholder voting agreement.