Vince McMahon is under investigation.
The Wall Street Journal report that the WWE board is investigating a secret $3 million settlement, or a “hush pact”, that company chairman Vince McMahon reached with a former employee that he allegedly had an affair with, per documents and people familiar with the inquiry. McMahon and the individual, who had been hired as a paralegal in 2019, reached the agreement in January 2022, and it prohibits her from discussing her relationship with McMahon whatsoever.
This investigation began in April and reportedly uncovered previous nondisclosure agreements with former female WWE employees who made allegations of misconduct against McMahon and WWE’s Head of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis. It’s unclear how many of these NDAs have been reached, as the investigation is ongoing, but the payment total is allegedly in the millions.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has been retained to conduct the investigation, which has already found that McMahon used his personal funds to compensate the former employees, one of whom made allegations against Laurinaitis. The firm is also investigating WWE’s company culture and both its compliance and human resources programs. According to a WWE spokesman, the company is fully cooperating and the aforementioned relationship was consensual. The spokesman stated that WWE is taking the allegations seriously and “dealing with them appropriately. Neither McMahon nor Laurinaitis responded to a direct request to comment, but McMahon’s attorney, Jerry McDevitt, told The Wall Street Journal in a letter that the former employee hasn’t made harassment claims against McMahons, and that “WWE did not pay any monies” to her “on her departure.”
According to the report, board members found out about the agreement through a series of anonymous emails; the first message, which was sent on March 30, alleged that McMahon doubled the woman’s salary after he entered a sexual relationship with her and that he “gave her like a toy” Laurinaitis. The investigation is looking into these allegations. The writer of the email in question stated that the former employee, whom she called a friend, was “so scared” after she left WWE after McMahon and McDevitt paid her off. The nondisclosure agreement is said to have been paid $1 million up front, with the remainder being given out over five years. In 2021, the former employee became Laurinaitis’ assistant after working in the legal department.
At the beginning of the investigation, McMahon, Laurinaitis, and WWE were asked to hand over complaints or allegations about relationships between executives and employees.
WWE’s board is investigating a secret $3 million settlement that longtime CEO Vince McMahon reached with a former employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, according to documents and people familiar https://t.co/FXdiFlpfiq
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 15, 2022
WrestleZone will provide more details as they become available.