Huge news coming out of WWE’s corporate end, as the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the board of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. is investigating a $3 million settlement, paid to a former employee by WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon with whom he allegedly had an affair.
According to the Journal’s sources, the separation agreement is from January of 2022 and bars the former paralegal from discussing her relationship with McMahon or disparaging him in any way. The WWE board has said the relationship between McMahon and the employee, hired in 2019, was consensual. The WWE board began investigating McMahon in April and has since uncovered more settlements.
The investigation has reportedly uncovered previous non-disclosure agreements by former WWE employees, which not only claim misconduct by McMahon but also Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis. There is no word on how many agreements were unearthed by the investigation. The total amount paid in non-disclosure agreements (NDA) has yet to be determined by the board, but a source noted that it was in the millions.
The investigation also discovered that McMahon used personal funds to pay the former female employees. The personal funds were not only used for complaints against McMahon, as McMahon reportedly used personal funds to pay for the settlement involving Laurinaitis.
According to McMahon’s attorney Jerry McDevitt, “WWE did not pay any monies” to the former employee, which lines up with the investigation’s report that McMahon used personal funds. While the investigation is mainly focused on the settlements to the former employees, but would also broadly investigate WWE’s human resources programs, as well as company culture as a whole.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the 12-person board of directors still includes McMahon’s daughter Stephanie, who recently stepped away from her duties as Chief Brand Officer to take time with her family. The investigation is being led by board member Man Jit Singh, a former Sony Home Entertainment Executive.
The news comes after WWE stock prices rose on Wednesday, in the wake of the Federal Reserve announcing the highest interest rates since 1994.