Former casino magnate Steve Wynn has filed a defamation lawsuit on Thursday in Clark Country District Court in Nevada against a one-time employee related to sexual assault allegations lodged against the ex-CEO.
Wynn’s claim against former Wynn Las Vegas salon director Jorgen Nielsen alleges the stylist spread false accusations that Wynn sexually harassed his female employees.
Nielsen was directly quoted in two Wall Street Journal articles, the first of which was published on January 26, detailing sexual misconduct allegations lodged against Wynn, 76, spanning over decades.
Wynn, himself, stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts on February 6, following the reporting of the allegations, while simultaneously denying them to be true.
Wynn noted in the lawsuit that Nielsen remains to be the person hair stylist of his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, that he ‘has been for years’ and alluded that Nielsen may have come forward with these allegations to benefit his ex, related to her ownership of shares in Wynn Resorts.
Former casino magnate Steve Wynn, 76, has filed a defamation lawsuit against one-time Wynn Resorts salon director Jorgen Nielsen on Thursday in Nevada District Court
Nielsen was described in the lawsuit as being a ‘disgruntled former employee’ who ‘harbors a personal animus, dislike, and anger toward Mr. Wynn.’
Born in Copenhagen, he worked at several of Wynn’s resorts, including Bellagio, Encore and Wynn Las Vegas up until 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Nielsen was one of two sources that went on the record for the WSJ in January, in two articles reporting on Wynn being accused of a range of inappropriate workplace conduct, including requiring employees to be naked while massaging him and demanding that women masturbate in front of him.
Nielsen was quoted as saying that ‘everyone [in the salon] was petrified’ of Wynn, who would often receive services at the salons on his properties. He added that reports were made to company executives, but ‘nobody was there to help us.’
Several of Wynn’s former employers have since sued him for sexual harassment, and police reports have been filed that include allegations of rape and coercion.
Wynn’s claim against former Wynn Las Vegas salon director Jorgen Nielsen alleges the stylist spread false accusations that Wynn sexually harassed his female employees
WSJ said that in the course of its reporting leading up the story that quoted Nielsen, the paper reached out to 150 current and former employees of Wynn Resorts.
One account by a manicurist described an incident in 2005 where she allegedly went to Wynn’s room for an appointment, was pressured into undressing, lying on his massage table and having sex with him.
That reportedly resulted in a human resources report and ultimately led to a $7.5 million settlement, according to the Journal.
Nielsen provided a comment to the WSJ about another account, which Wynn specifically called out in his lawsuit as being false.
Nielsen said Wynn chased one of the managers around the salon, not relenting until she locked herself in a bathroom.
The lawsuit stated that particular claim could not be accurate because Wynn is legally blind, often having difficulty executing a handshake during an introduction due to his poor sight. The implication there is that Wynn could have chased a woman around the salon because he couldn’t see well enough to maneuver the space, even though he was presumably familiar with the space due to his frequent visits.
When Wynn stepped down in early February, he said at the time that he was doing so due to ‘an avalanche of negative publicity’ that had created an environment ‘in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts.’
Nielsen was described in the lawsuit as being a ‘disgruntled former employee’ who ‘harbors a personal animus, dislike, and anger toward Mr. Wynn’
Wynn is one of many men in power recently called out publicly for allegations of inappropriate behavior.
The Time’s Up movement, and a legal defense fund by the same name, was created in response to the public outing of men, specifically in media, for their alleged acts of sexual harassment, assault, abuse of power and unequal treatment of women in the workplace.
The founders of the Time’s Up movement have made it clear that although their cause was inspired by allegations against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Louis CK, Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin and William Morris Endeavor’s Adam Venit, and even before them, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, the fund exists for the benefit of all people, across all industries, who have experience lack of parity in their places of business.
It was accusations against Weinstein, however, that broke in October, that preceded a social media campaign using the hashtag #MeToo, which due to its widespread adoption gave people courage to share their own stories of sexual harassment and assault.
Before that, the ‘Me Too’ movement was initiated offline by Tarana Burke a New York City-based civil rights activist who first used the term in 2006 in her work to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society.
Wynn’s lawsuit filed this week against Nielsen stated: ’In falsely accusing Mr. Wynn of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era, Defendant Nielsen acted with the unlawful purpose of smearing Mr. Wynn and creating workplace issues for Mr. Wynn at a time when he was embroiled in highly contentious and public litigation with his ex- wife, Elaine Wynn.’
Wynn is seen here in New York City in September 2008 with his ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, who he claims currently employs Nielsen as her personal hair stylist
Wynn sold his entire stake in the casino company on March 21 for $2.1 billion, after a judge agreed to declare a previously entered into shareholder agreement between Wynn and his ex-wife, Elaine, 75, that restricted their abilities to sell their combined 21 percent stake in the company.
He had first filed a motion to invalidate his shareholder agreement with his ex on March 2, which was initially denied by a judge in Nevada.
Wynn’s argument, then, was that his departure from the company invalidated the agreement.
After that, both of the Wynns told the court they consider the agreement to be invalid. The two entered a joint stipulation to that effect, which was accepted and signed into an order by a judge on March 14.
The stipulation and order read that their shareholder’s agreement is ‘now invalid and unenforceable as a matter of law and that neither party shall have any further rights or obligations thereunder,’ according to an SEC filing.
Wynn’s ex-wife initially sought to invalidate the agreement so she could sell her shares, but given these new developments, it’s now unclear whether she’ll divest herself of her 9 percent stake in Wynn Resorts.
Wynn Resorts owns two casinos in Nevada and Macau, China and is scheduled to open one in Massachusetts next year.
Wynn sold his entire stake in Wynn Resorts on March 21 for $2.1 billion, after a judge agreed to declare a previously entered into shareholder agreement between Wynn and his ex-wife, Elaine, 75, that restricted their abilities to sell their combined 21 percent stake in the company.