WWE Chairman Vince McMahon is being investigated by the company’s board amid claims he paid $3 million to an employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that WWE’s board began investigating claims in April that McMahon had made the seven-figure payment to the former employee who was hired by the company as a paralegal in 2019. The company has stressed that the alleged relationship between McMahon and the unnamed employee was consensual and that McMahon is co-operating with the investigation.
The Journal’s report continues to say that the board’s investigation has also unearthed older non-disclosure agreements that surround claims of misconduct made by other former female WWE employees that involve both Vince McMahon and WWE’s Head of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis. However, it is not known how many of these claims are being looked into but payments made in relation to them are said to run into the millions of dollars.
The WWE board’s initial findings indicate that McMahon used personal funds to pay off the former employees who signed the NDAs including paying the employee who made accusations against Laurinaitis.
Allegations surrounding the relationship between Vince McMahon and the former WWE paralegal came to light when the company board was sent anonymous emails, with one alleging that McMahon had up the employees’ salary from $100,000 to $200,000 after beginning a physical relationship with her.
The email is said by the WSJ to contain the unsettling claim that McMahon gave the employee “like a toy” to John Laurinaitis. That email is also said to have included an allusion to Vince McMahon’s long-time attorney Jerry McDevitt as it is quoted as reading “My friend was so scared so she quit after Vince McMahon and lawyer Jerry paid her millions of dollars to shut up.”
The WWE board apparently was given a copy of the $3 million agreement on June 12th with the payments split into an upfront $1 million and the remaining $2 million spread out over the next five years. In 2021 the employee changed roles in the company, moving from the legal department to work as an assistant for John Laurinaitis.