A Wall Street Journal report brought forward more allegations against the former WWE CEO Vince McMahon stating that he paid $12 million “hush money” to at least four women, in order to cover up “allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity”. The report of the hush money, which the Journal said was paid over 16 years, is the latest part of a corporate firestorm for controversial McMahon.
Coerced Wrestlers To Give Oral Sex And What Not!
“Vince McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.’s longtime leader, agreed to pay more than $12 million over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity, an amount far larger than previously known.
The payouts went to four women, all formerly affiliated with WWE, WWE -2.01%▼ who signed agreements with Mr McMahon that prohibit them from discussing potential legal claims against or their relationships with the 76-year-old executive, according to people familiar with the deals as well as documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The previously unreported settlements include a $7.5 million pact with a former wrestler who alleged that Mr McMahon 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, according to people familiar with the matter. The wrestler and her attorney approached Mr McMahon in 2018 and negotiated the payment in return for her silence, the people said…”
The report also reveals that in a 2006 agreement, McMahon paid $1 million hush money to a former manager who worked with him for 10 years. He allegedly initiated a sexual relationship with her and gave her the money to remain quiet. The allegations also involve a $3 million pact reached in January between McMahon and a former paralegal with whom he allegedly had an affair.
The report suggests that WWE’s board is investigating Mr McMahon’s agreement with the former paralegal, and the 2018 deal ($7.5 million hush money) with the former wrestler, people familiar with the inquiry said. However, the women, all of whom were involved with WWE, signed agreements with McMahon that “prohibit them from discussing potential legal claims against or their relationships with the 76-year-old executive.”
The Ugly Face Behind WWE’s Success…
McMahon has been considered the personification of WWE for decades. He served as the chairman and chief executive officer of WWE, the largest professional wrestling promotion in the world, until 2022. He was the man behind overseeing its business and operations and performing in the ring under the name “Mr McMahon.”
Interestingly, he did not surrender his “oversight of creative affairs during the investigation” and has made “multiple appearances on prime-time WWE telecasts amid the executive upheaval”. Shares in WWE have been flat since the allegations against Vince McMahon came to light. They slipped about 1% in mid-day trading today, to $64.22.
McMahon voluntarily stepped down as chairman and CEO of WWE on June 17, 2022, pending the conclusion of an internal investigation. McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie was appointed to serve as interim CEO and chairwoman. While stepping down, he said: “I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the special committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation.”
Meanwhile, in the light of the said report, WWE executive John Laurinaitis, also a former wrestler known as Johnny Ace, is being investigated for having sexual relations with the same former paralegal. Additionally, the board is looking at a $1.5 million nondisclosure agreement reached in 2012 with an employee involving misconduct claims against Mr Laurinaitis.
In a June 8 letter to the Journal, Mr McMahon’s attorney, Jerry McDevitt, said that the former paralegal hadn’t made any claims of harassment against Mr McMahon and that “WWE did not pay any monies” to the ex-employee “on her departure.”
Before this event came to light, former first woman referee, Rita Chatterton had this to say on the Geraldo Rivera talk show: “Vince grabbed my hand, kept trying to put my hand on him. I was scared. By the end, my wrist was all purple, black, and blue. Things didn’t… He just… God, he didn’t stop. This man It just didn’t stop,” she added.
In a trembled voice, she continued: “I was forced to perform oral sex on Vince McMahon. When I couldn’t satisfy his desires, he got really angry, started ripping my jeans off, put me on top of him, and told me again if I wanted a half a million-dollar contract year, I had to satisfy him. If I didn’t satisfy him, he would throw me out on the street and it would all be over.”
Neither Mr Laurinaitis nor an attorney for Mr McMahon responded to requests for comment. The company is currently cooperating with the board inquiry per a WWE spokesperson. The spokesperson said: “Mr McMahon’s relationship with the former paralegal was consensual, and that the company is taking the allegations seriously.”