On Friday morning, The Wall Street Journal (subscription required to access full article) published its latest findings regarding Vince McMahon and nondisclosed payment agreements made with former WWE employees to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.
WSJ reports that payouts totalling more than $12 million over the past 16 years were made with four women, all previously affiliated with WWE, in exchange for their silence about prior relationships with McMahon:
- A $7.5 million deal with a former wrestler who alleged that McMahon coerced her into giving him oral sex before she was later demoted, ultimately resulting in her contract expiry in 2005 following resistance of further sexual encounters. WSJ’s sources indicate that the wrestler and her attorney approached and made the deal with McMahon in 2018.
- A roughly $1 million deal with a WWE contractor who was sent unsolicited nude photos from, and was allegedly sexually harassed on the job, by McMahon.
- A $1 million 2006 agreement with a former manager who had worked with McMahon for 10 years before McMahon allegedly initiated a sexual relationship with her.
- A previously reported $3 million hush pact between McMahon and a former WWE paralegal with whom he allegedly had an affair.
The agreements with the former WWE paralegal and the 2018 deal with the former wrestler are currently being investigated by WWE’s board of directors, according to the report.
WSJ also reports that the board is looking into a $1.5 million NDA reached in 2012 involving misconduct claims against WWE executive John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis is also alleged to have had a sexual relationship with the aforementioned former WWE paralegal. WSJ reports that the WWE board is investigating both matters involving Laurinaitis, who was forced to step down from his first stint as WWE Head of Talent Relations in 2012, around the same time the $1.5 million deal was reached.
During ongoing investigations, McMahon has currently stepped down as WWE CEO and Chairman but maintains his on-screen and creative roles within the company. His daughter Stephanie McMahon is interim CEO-chairperson. Laurinaitis, who was restored as Head of Talent Relations last year, is currently on administrative leave.
We’ll have more info regarding the story as it develops.