Vince McMahon Paid More Than $12 Million For Women’s Silence
A new report from The Wall Street Journal found that former WWE CEO and chairperson Vince McMahon paid four women $12 million over the past 16 years. That includes the reported $3 million payout to a former WWE employee he had an alleged affair with previously unearthed by The Wall Street Journal.
According to the latest report, McMahon issued a $7.5 million hush money payment to a former wrestler in 2018 after he “coerced her into giving him oral sex and then demoted her and, ultimately, declined to renew her contract in 2005 after she resisted further sexual encounters.”
Another $1 million each was paid to two women in nondisclosure agreements. One was a former manager who was with the company for 10 years before McMahon allegedly initiated a sexual relationship with her. The other was a WWE contractor in 2008 who accused McMahon of sexual harassment and presented the company with unsolicited nude photo she received from him as proof.
McMahon and the WWE previously claimed the affair revealed in the first report was consensual.
Prior to the WSJ’s latest report, McMahon “voluntarily stepped back” from his role within the company amid an investigation of the alleged affair and $3 million payout with a former WWE paralegal in July. WWE board members reportedly launched the investigation into McMahon in April after they learned of the CEO’s alleged misconduct via anonymous emails sent to the company from someone who claimed to be friends with the former WWE paralegal. Similarly to the three women mentioned above, McMahon reportedly had the former employee sign a separation agreement in January that barred her from discussing or disparaging her relationship with him.
The company launched an investigation into WWE executive John Laurinaitis as well. Laurinaitis allegedly had a sexual relationship with the same paralegal as McMahon. In addition, the WWE board is investigating a $1.5 million dollar nondisclosure agreement between Laurinaitis and an employee who alleged him of misconduct back in 2012. Laurinaitis was placed on administrative leave after the investigation was launched.
While McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, serves as the wrestling promotion’s interim CEO and chairperson, McMahon still maintains control over creative storylines within the WWE. McMahon has made multiple bizarre in-character live appearances on WWE programming since the investigation began. During an appearance on the first Friday Night Smackdown after the WSJ’s initial report, McMahon reiterated WWE’s motto of “Then. Now. Forever. Together,” before tossing his microphone and leaving the ring. On the following episode of Monday Night Raw, McMahon teased the return of John Cena, which fans were already aware of through WWE’s advertisements.
Kotaku reached out to WWE for comment but did not receive an immediate reply.