Raise your hands if you didn’t see this coming.
Following weeks of intense scrutiny over #MeToo accusations against him, casino mogul Steve Wynn resigned as CEO of Wynn Resorts yesterday. While the move was probably expected by many, it’s still rather strange since Wynn continues to maintain that the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him are completely false and were orchestrated by his estranged wife. (NBC News)
Billionaire casino magnate Steve Wynn stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts, the company said Tuesday.
Wynn, who has donated millions to the Republican Party, was accused sexual misconduct by several people who have worked at his Las Vegas casinos, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal in late January. The article detailed a pattern of behavior that spans decades and included accusations by employees that they were coerced by him to perform sex acts.
“It is with a collective heavy heart, that the board of directors of Wynn Resorts today accepted the resignation of our founder, CEO and friend Steve Wynn,” Boone Wayson, non-executive director of the board of directors, said in a statement.
The company’s board of directors has already selected the president of Wynn Resorts, Matt Maddox, to take over as CEO, apparently with Wynn’s blessings. They further stated that the terms of Wynn’s separation agreement will be made public when finalized, so I doubt he’ll be hitting the streets penniless.
Unless there is some sort of criminal prosecution on the way, this may remain one of the really troubling incidents of the Me Too moment. Unlike many other powerful men who have been accused, Wynn not only hasn’t confessed to any wrongdoing, but he hasn’t even suggested that he might have done something “inappropriate” which might have been misinterpreted. He hasn’t apologized because he claims there’s nothing to apologize for. He maintains that this is all a plot hatched by his wife, who is seeking more favorable terms in their pending divorce settlement.
So how do we resolve this? Wynn, like anyone else, is innocent until proven guilty in terms of criminal conduct under the law. In the Court of Public Opinion, however, the bar has been set much lower, if there’s even a bar at all. It’s true that Wynn stepped down from his position voluntarily, but obviously he didn’t want to. He cited “an avalanche of negative publicity” and a “rush to judgment” in his statement. He was more concerned about doing damage to the company by sticking around under this cloud of allegations.
If Wynn is actually guilty of what he’s accused of then I suppose some sort of “justice” has been served, though not nearly enough. But what if he’s innocent? Let’s face it, this wouldn’t be the first time that an angry spouse has pulled some dirty tricks during divorce proceedings. And with the mountain of other, mostly accurate accusations flooding the news cycle, this would be the perfect time to try something like that. If Wynn didn’t do the things he’s being accused of and was still run out of town at his own company, we’ve seen the dark side of #MeToo.