WWE boss Vince McMahon paid more than $12 million to four women in a 16-year span to hush “allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity,” the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
All four women worked for McMahon at WWE and signed non-disclosure agreements that barred them from taking legal action or speaking publicly about their experiences with McMahon. the Wall Street Journal cited sources with knowledge of the deal and reviewed documents.
On June 17, McMahon stepped aside as chief executive and chairman of the company after the Journal had previously reported that the board was investigating a secret $3 million settlement to pay to an employee with whom he allegedly had an affair. Stephanie McMahon, his daughter, was appointed interim CEO. (Vince McMahon retains creative control and has made appeared on WWE programming since.)
The largest sum was $7.5 million paid to an ex-wrestler who left the company in 2005 when McMahon didn’t renew her contract. She had resisted further sexual encounters after McMahon had coerced oral sex, the Journal reported.
McMahon paid $1 million to a former manager in a 2006 agreement, per the Journal, after an alleged sexual relationship she was told to keep quiet about. Another former WWE contractor received roughly $1 million; McMahon sent the woman unsolicited nude photos and allegedly sexually harassed her on the job, according to the Journal.
WWE has admitted to investors that the success of the company hinges on McMahon’s standing as its leader. He also owns the bulk of shareholding voting power, per securities filings.
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