Nikki and Brie Garcia, formerly known as Nikki and Brie Bella in WWE, have opened up about the recent allegations against WWE, which include horrific allegations against the company’s former chairman Vince McMahon, and the Garcias’ stepfather, John Laurinaitis.
The sisters, who performed under the stage name The Bella Twins in WWE on and off between 2007 and 2023 before leaving the wrestling organization last year, issued a joint statement on Instagram on Monday, January 29.
“We are shocked and disheartened with the recent allegations against members of the WWE,” the Garcia twins posted on social media. “It has been a lot to process since we found out this past week, just as you all did.”
They continued, “This is something we don’t stand for or condone from anyone no matter who they are. We want all women to feel safe and supported in the workplace and in their everyday lives.”
Nikki and Brie’s statement comes just days after Janel Grant, a former WWE employee, filed a lawsuit against the company and several of its high-level executives, accusing them of “physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault, and trafficking.”
The lawsuit includes claims against WWE co-founder McMahon, who Grant alleges pressured her into a sexual relationship in exchange for employment. She also claims McMahon trafficked her to other employees in the company, including Laurinaitis, who then worked as the WWE’s Head of Talent Relations.
Grant also alleges McMahon attempted to traffic her to a top WWE star and former UFC Champion as part of a deal to get them to sign a new contract in 2020. She also claims that McMahon and Laurinaitis raped her in McMahon’s office.
She said she was let go from WWE after McMahon’s wife, Linda McMahon, found out about their relationship in January 2022, and he had her sign an NDA in exchange for $3 million. However, Grant claims McMahon stopped sending her payment and is therefore seeking to have the NDA voided.
“I stand by my prior statement that Ms. Grant’s lawsuit is replete with lies, obscene made-up instances that never occurred, and is a vindictive distortion of the truth,” McMahon said in a statement. “I intend to vigorously defend myself against these baseless accusations and look forward to clearing my name.”
On Friday night, January 26, McMahon resigned from all his roles at WWE and its parent company TKO Group. This came after Slim Jim, one of WWE’s most lucrative sponsors, paused their contract with the company ahead of Saturday’s Royal Rumble event. Slim Jim resumed their sponsorship following McMahon’s resignation.
“Mr. McMahon does not control TKO nor does he oversee the day-to-day operations of WWE,” a TKO spokesperson told NBC News. “While this matter pre-dates our TKO executive team’s tenure at the company, we take Ms. Grant’s horrific allegations very seriously and are addressing this matter internally.”
Speaking to reporters following Saturday’s Royal Rumble, WWE’s Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque was asked about the allegations against WWE and McMahon.
“Yes, there’s a negative,” Levesque said of the situation, “but I choose to focus on the positive.” He went on to say it has been “an amazing week” for the company, citing the new Netflix deal as part of the success. Levesque received criticism for his response.
Nikki and Brie left WWE in 2023, revealing on their Sirius XM show that it was a “difficult decision” but one they needed to make as they started a “new chapter” in their lives.
Laurinaitis, a former wrestler and long-term WWE executive, became engaged to Kathy Colace, the mother of the Garcia twins, on September 3, 2015. The couple married in a private ceremony on March 24, 2016.
In April 2022, following a report from the Wall Street Journal, the WWE board started an investigation into nondisclosure agreements related to misconduct claims by women in the company against Laurinaitis and McMahon. Laurinaitis was let go by WWE on August 8, 2022.