January 10, 2019

Sexual Assault Lawsuits Against Massage Envy

Allegations of sexual assault date back nearly the founding of Massage Envy, yet most cases reported to the company were poorly handled and kept quiet. Despite some improved policies just recently (changes that came only after nearly 200 lawsuits were publicized) Massage Envy lacks transparency and accountability to the public about just how dangerous their spas are for women.

Massage Envy’s sexual assault problem finally exploded into the public’s awareness when one brave woman, Susan Ingram, refused to be silenced by Massage Envy’s team of lawyers. Her willingness to go to the press led to a breakthrough investigative journalism piece by Buzz Feed in November 2017, “More than 180 Woman Have Reported Sexual Assaults at Massage Envy.” Buzz Feed followed up their viral report with a second in August 2018, “Dozens More Women Say They Were Sexually Assaulted At Massage Envy.”

A simple Google News search turns up many news reports about Massage Envy’s poor handling of numerous sexual assault cases.

Here are copies of a handful of recent lawsuits against the largest massage chain in America detailing heartbreaking and horrifying personal accounts from survivors. These lawsuits also lay out accounts of poor corporate policy guidance from Massage Envy on these matters and even prior knowledge by Massage Envy managers of complaints from previous clients at the hands of certain male therapists.

New Hanover County North Carolina – October 2018

San Mateo, CA – July 2018

Middlesex, NJ – Dec 2018

Palm Beach, Florida – August 2018

Tulsa, Oklahoma – October 2018

No corporation should facilitate sexual exploitation. Companies like Massage Envy who cater to helping customers relax and feel safe have a social responsibility to their clients, employees, and to the public to actively oppose and curb sexual violence against women, especially on their own tables.

We recognize that Massage Envy has made great strides in improving their policies in the last 6 months, however, that doesn’t undo the hundreds of assaults which have taken place because they chose for years to buck responsibility. Massage Envy still has more improvements to make if they wish to gain the trust back of clients across the U.S. or to be recognized as a leader working to change our #MeToo culture.

Dawn Hawkins

Chief Executive Officer

Dawn Hawkins is CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the leading organization exposing the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, prostitution, pornography, and child sexual abuse. Dawn’s energy, creativity and mobilization skills are deployed to build a world free from sexual violence, with freedom and human dignity for all.

Dawn is deeply committed to bipartisan political solutions at the federal and state level. Her issue expertise, visionary initiatives, and innovative strategy have led to groundbreaking change in the legislative arena and in multimillion-dollar corporate policies.

Dawn has been instrumental in re-imaging the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She has centered the need to address buyer demand for commercial sex, called out corporate entities facilitating exploitation through the annual Dirty Dozen List, fostered an international movement, and constantly: advocates for survivors. Her work has sparked change at Google, Hilton Worldwide, Comcast, Walmart, the Department of Defense, Instagram, TikTok, and other influential firms. Dawn has appeared on many television programs, including CNN, Fox & Friends, and Good Morning America. She regularly authors articles and speaks around the country addressing the public health harms of pornography, curbing demand for sex trafficking, protecting children and families in our digital world, and more.

Further Reading