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WWE Board Investigates Vince McMahon Over Multiple Misconduct Claims, Secret $3 Million Settlement (Report)

WWE talent relations chief John Laurinaitis also accused of misconduct, according to the Wall Street Journals

The World Wrestling Entertainment Board is investigating longtime CEO Vince McMahon over a secret $3 million settlement paid to a former employee with whom he allegedly had a romantic relationship, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The separation agreement, from January 2022, includes a nondisclosure clause wherein the ex-employee — who was first hired as a paralegal in 2019 and two years later became an assistant to talent relations chief John Laurinaitis — is barred from disparaging McMahon or speaking publicly about their affair.

The board’s investigation, which began in April, also revealed further NDAs related to claims made by women formerly employed by the company, who alleged misconduct by McMahon and Laurinaitis. These agreements also included payments totaling in the millions of dollars.

Per the WSJ, the board’s remaining 11 members found out about the matter through an email that came from an anonymous individual who claimed to be friends with the former employee. The first email — sent March 30 — stated that McMahon initially hired the woman at a salary of $100,000 but allegedly doubled it after beginning a sexual relationship with her. The email also alleged that McMahon “gave her” to Laurinaitis “like a toy,” adding that she “was so scared so she quit after Vince McMahon and [his lawyer Jerry McDevitt] paid her millions of dollars to shut up.” According to documents apparently obtained by the board, the agreement paid the paralegal $1 million upfront with the remaining amount to be disbursed over five years.

The investigation, which is being conducted by New York-based law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, purportedly found that McMahon used personal funds to pay the former women employees who signed agreements. The firm is also investigating wider company culture and HR procedures.

A WWE spokesperson said the company is cooperating with the probe and maintained that the affair between McMahon and the employee was consensual, according to the WSJ. McDevitt said in a letter to the outlet that the former paralegal hadn’t made any claims of harassment against McMahon and that “WWE did not pay any monies” to her upon departure.

TheWrap has reached out to a WWE representative and McDevitt for comment on the matter.

Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s chief branding officer, stepped back from her corporate duties last month, citing time needed to focus on her family. “WWE is a lifelong legacy for me and I look forward to returning to the company that I love after taking this time to focus on my family,” she said at the time. Her departure came a month after the investigation’s inception, though it is currently unclear if the two are correlated.

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