In what could be some blockbuster bad publicity for WWE, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that the WWE Board of Directors are investigating Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon over a $3 million settlement payment allegedly to silence a former employee who he had an affair with.
These investigations started in April after an anonymous e-mail spilled the beans and further findings also revealed other kind of hush payments involving Vince and now head of talent relations John Laurinaitis.
The anonymous correspondence said that Vince hired this person – a paralegal – on an annual salary of $100,000 but then it was doubled after a relationship between Vince and the employee started. The Wall Street Journal further reveals that in the e-mail it was stated that McMahon handed over the female employee to Laurinaitis “like a toy.”
She was eventually moved to Laurinaitis’ team in 2021 and the $3 million settlement took place this year, with the money keeping her silence over the whole affair.
The person who sent the original e-mail, a friend of the paralegal, also sent a copy of the NDA to the Board of Directors, which had an upfront payment of $1 million and the rest to be paid out over a period of five years.
“My friend was so scared so she quit after Vince McMahon and lawyer Jerry [McDevitt] paid her millions of dollars to shut up,” the email said.
Reached out for comment, a WWE spokesperson said that the relationship between McMahon and the former employee was consensual and everyone is cooperating with the Board.
WWE’s chief attorney, Jerry McDevitt, also told the WSJ that there were never any harassment claims against Vince and there was no payment to her on her departure.
The company also sent a statement to its hundreds of staff regarding the affair.
“The Wall Street Journal has published a report about WWE with allegations that we and our Board of Directors take seriously. We are cooperating fully with the independent investigation initiated by our Board of Directors,” the short e-mail said.