A new report has claimed that WWE talent are unhappy with Vince McMahon’s handling of the allegations surrounding him and John Laurinaitis.
In June it was reported that Vince McMahon was being investigated by WWE’s Board of Directors over claims that he had given a $3 million “hush payment” to a former employee with whom he had an affair.
After news of this investigation was made public, McMahon stepped down from his responsibilities as CEO and Chairman of the Board. He was replaced on an interim basis by Stephanie McMahon.
It is important to note that despite this, McMahon retained control over WWE’s creative output going forward.
In response to the allegations, McMahon opened the June 17th episode of Friday Night SmackDown where he appeared in defiant mood and delivered a short promo to the crowd. The WWE figurehead didn’t make any reference to the allegations.
A fresh report on July 8th has now brought fresh claims to light. The report alleges that McMahon paid more than $12 million to four women formerly associated with WWE over the course of 16 years. One claim alleges that McMahon coerced a female wrestler into performing oral sex on him. It is also claimed that McMahon demoted the wrestler when she ended their affair and failed to renew their contract after she turned down further sexual advances.
It is alleged that McMahon paid the woman $7.5 million in exchange for her silence.
A new report from Fightful Select has now offered some insight into the mood backstage as the scandal continues to dominate headlines.
One source who had previously remained quiet about McMahon’s handling of the situation, said they wished they had spoken up sooner. Adding that his response is veering from “no-selling” the entire thing to outright defiance. Demonstrated when he shouted “F*ck em!” after walking through the curtain following his SmackDown appearance on June 17th.
Rumours of McMahon’s behaviour existed within the writing team, although it’s unknown as to whether the allegations of coercion and the NDA’s were well known. A former writer said that McMahon’s relationships were a “half-joking” excuse as to why he was late to meetings.
With regard to John Laurinaitis who is also under investigation, the belief is that he is “done” with WWE. However, he will receive what was described as a “golden parachute” deal to take care of him on the way out. Fightful add that when Larinaitis was promoted back to Head of Talent Relations in 2021, female talent contacted them to air their displeasure. A “higher up” noted, “Johnny Ace’s ninth life is about to be lost.”
WWE talent have been unable to discuss the matter publicly but spoke with Fightful and “expressed displeasure and extreme frustration with Vince McMahon’s handling of it.”
It has since been noted that WWE released a statement to employees addressing the new allegations, writing that they are taking the matter seriously.