The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the board of professional wrestling & media company World World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) board is in the midst of investigating a $3M money settlement that CEO Vince McMahon paid a female paralegal over an alleged affair. Citing documents and sources familiar with the situation, the article claims that the January 2022 agreement was reportedly meant to prevent the woman from discussing her relationship with or from making critical statements about McMahon. For their part, a spokesperson for the WWE communicated that the company was working with the board during the investigation, and emphasized that the relationship between McMahon and the woman was consensual.
Having started its investigation in April 2022, The WSJ also reports that the board found a number of nondisclosure pacts connected to misconduct claims from other women who had also worked for the company. The agreements in question not only involved McMahon but also WWE talent executive John Laurinaitis (known as "Johnny Ace" during his wrestling days). To facilitate the investigation, the board has retained the NY-based law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. And while McMahon's attorney, Jerry McDevitt, has not commented publically at the time of this writing, he did tell The WSJ that the former employee did not file any harassment claims against McMahon and that the WWE did not pay her money.
The 76-year-old McMahon is married to Linda McMahon, previous WWE CEO who also served as the Small Business Administration chief during President Donald Trump's (a WWE Hall of Fame member) time in office. The move comes less than a month after WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon announced she was taking a leave of absence from the company, writing, "As of tomorrow, I am taking a leave of absence from the majority of my responsibilities at WWE. WWE is a lifelong legacy for me and I look forward to returning to the company that I love after taking this time to focus on my family."