Massage Envy is by far the largest chain of massage franchises in the country, and its billion dollar business is well known in pretty much any city throughout the United States… but a damning BuzzFeed News investigation out Sunday morning may change what you think you know about the company.
According to the longform investigation, more than 180 people have filed sexual assault lawsuits, made police reports, and filed state board complaints against Massage Envy franchises across the country, as well as their employees, and the national company.
Worse yet, many have now come forward to report that their claims were mishandled or ignored by employees and owners of the individual Massage Envy spas, or by the national company itself.
From the BuzzFeed News piece, which talked to dozens of women and found the lawsuits of dozens more concerning their unwanted experiences at Massage Envy spas (below):
“Dozens of women reported digital and oral penetration. One Oregon woman said her massage therapist forced his entire fist into her vagina before ejaculating in her face. In Florida, a woman said she tried to push away her massage therapist as he licked her vagina. Over 100 reported that massage therapists groped their genitals, groped their breasts, or committed other explicit violations, such as the California woman who said she opened her eyes during a prenatal massage to find her massage therapist sucking on her nipple.”
Now, Massage Envy is flailing to try to run away from the bad press — at the center of which is not only the sexual assaults and misconduct itself, but also the company’s inconsistent policy to policing their employees and aligning with their customers when things go REALLY wrong.
More from the piece (below):
“Massage Envy told BuzzFeed News that it would not be ‘appropriate to respond point-by-point’ to questions ‘because of pending litigation’ and the confidential documents involved. But overall, Melanie Hansen, general counsel of Massage Envy Franchising, said the company has worked hard to create the industry’s ‘most stringent, rigorous policies’ for hiring, screening, and training therapists. ‘We hold franchise owners accountable to our policies and, when we say nothing is more important to us than treating clients with respect and giving them a safe, professional experience, we mean it,’ she said in an email to BuzzFeed News. But a review by BuzzFeed News found the company’s policies on reporting improper conduct do more to protect the company brand than to ensure customer complaints are handled appropriately. Customers have been violated in shocking ways, then seen their reports brushed aside, while offending therapists have been allowed to keep their professional standing with no consequences.”
Yeah, this is a really, really, REALLY bad look for Massage Envy — and could spell serious doom for the company.
Read the full investigative report HERE.
[Image via Massage Envy.]