Jan 26, 2018

Casino mogul Steve Wynn accused of sexual misconduct

Photo: Taylor Hill / FilmMagic via Getty Images

Dozens of women, including Wynn Resorts employees, have accused Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn of engaging in behavior that amounts to "a decades-long pattern of sexual misconduct," in interviews with the WSJ. Several accounts include detailed instances of him pressuring employees to perform sex acts.

Why it matters: Wynn, who denied the allegations, is the latest public figure to be swept up in the #MeToo movement. But as a billionaire CEO and finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, he is also one of the first men in his highly-regulated industry to face such accusations.

The allegations:

  • A manicurist who worked at Wynn Las Vegas shortly after it opened in 2005 told several people that the billionaire had "pressured her to take her off and told her to lie on the massage table he kept in his office suite." After hearing the account, the woman’s supervisor told the WSJ that she filed a detailed report to the casino’s human-resources department. Wynn reportedly paid the manicurist a $7.5 million settlement, which his attorneys admitted in a court filing.
  • Another former employee described Wynn asking them to massage his penis or perform oral sex during an appointment.
  • Others told WSJ that they sometimes made up fake appointments so other female workers had an excuse to deny Wynn's request for services. They also described how some female employees hid in the bathroom or back rooms when they learned he was on headed to the salon.
  • Go deeper: Read more of the accusations at the WSJ.

Wynn's response: "The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous,” he said in written statement to the WSJ. “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.”

Wynn Resorts also said that it requires annual anti-harassment training for all staff, and offers an anonymous hotline. “Since the inception of the company, not one complaint was made to that hotline regarding Mr. Wynn,” the company told WSJ.

Timing: Wynn's ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, has filed a lawsuit seeking to free herself from the restrictions on the sale of her stock in Wynn Resorts. In the filing, Elaine Wynn pointed to the settlement her ex-husband made to the manicurist

Note from WSJ: "The Journal contacted more than 150 people who work or had worked for Mr. Wynn; none reached out to the Journal on their own. Most of those who spoke to the Journal about Mr. Wynn said they worried that doing so could hurt their ability to work elsewhere because of his influence in the casino industry and the state."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,513,358 — Total deaths: 88,415 — Total recoveries: 329,329Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 430,376 — Total deaths: 14,739 — Total recoveries: 23,707Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: New York tops previous day's record death toll

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in the state in 24 hours. The state has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Why it matters: Public health officials have warned this would be a particularly deadly week for America, even as New York began to see declining trends of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 50 mins ago - Health

The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health