Las Vegas casino mogul and billionaire Steve Wynn is accused of decades of sexual misconduct in a report by the Wall Street Journal. The allegations center on spa workers at Wynn's casinos who claim he repeatedly demanded sexual favors or made lewd comments while they performed their jobs.
What are they saying?
From the WSJ:
Former employees said their awareness of Mr. Wynn’s power in Las Vegas, combined with the knowledge that the jobs they held were among the best-paying available there, added up to a feeling of dependence and intimidation when Mr. Wynn made requests of them.
Some said that feeling was heightened at times by the presence in a confined office space of one or more of his German shepherds, trained to respond to commands in German.
According to the report, Wynn allegedly wore "short shorts" that exposed his genitals while he received pedicures and other salon treatments.
The article cites “dozens" of unnamed people who formerly worked at Wynn’s casinos and allege that Wynn engaged in sexual misconduct. One example is a manicurist who alleges Wynn demanded she have sex with him in his office in 2005. She was reportedly working at his flagship Wynn Las Vegas casino at the time.
The alleged encounter was later detailed in a complaint filed with the casino’s human resources department, according to the report.
“Mr. Wynn later paid the manicurist a $7.5 million settlement, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Journal reported. "Attorneys for Mr. Wynn in a court filing admitted he made the personal payment; in a later hearing, his corporate attorney said there had been 'allegations of assault.'"
What is his background?
Wynn, 76, is the chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts. He built some of the most prominent and luxurious casinos in Vegas, including The Mirage, Treasure Island, and Bellagio. He no longer owns those three casinos, but his empire has since expanded into Macau in China. One of his latest projects is the $2.4 billion Wynn casino in Boston, according to the report.
The Journal and other publications mentioned that President Donald Trump is reportedly close friends with Wynn, a former competitor in the casino industry. In 2016, Trump called Wynn a “great friend.” After Trump’s election, Wynn was named the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman, the article notes.
What is Wynn’s response?
Wynn responded to the Journal’s questions about the allegations by saying, in part, “The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous.”
His written response also reportedly said: “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 also claims his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, is responsible for raising the allegations because of a “terrible and nasty lawsuit in which she is seeking a revised divorce settlement.” An attorney for Elaine Wynn said the idea that she orchestrated the release of the allegations “is just not true,” according to the WSJ.
Wynn is one of a growing number of prominent men in sports, media, politics, and show business who stand accused of sexual misconduct, and in some cases, sexual assault. It started with the New York Times' expose' of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and grew into the #MeToo movement which led to other women publicly airing their stories.