Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that WWE CEO Vince McMahon had paid out $3 million in hush money to a former employee with whom he had an affair. To perhaps little surprise, that may not have been the only time it happened. The same outlet reported today that, including that first case, McMahon has paid at least $12 million over the last 16 years for sexual misconduct with four women who were involved with WWE.
The four settlements were for varying reasons and amounts of money. The largest deal, according to the WSJ, involved McMahon sexually coercing and then demoting a wrestler in the early 2000s. A second deal involved a “WWE contractor”:
The previously unreported settlements include a $7.5 million pact with a former wrestler who alleged that Mr. McMahon coerced her into giving him oral sex and then demoted her and, ultimately, declined to renew her contract in 2005 after she resisted further sexual encounters, according to people familiar with the matter. The wrestler and her attorney approached Mr. McMahon in 2018 and negotiated the payment in return for her silence, the people said.
In another previously unreported deal, a WWE contractor presented the company with unsolicited nude photos of Mr. McMahon she reported receiving from him and alleged that he had sexually harassed her on the job, according to people familiar with the woman’s 2008 nondisclosure agreement. Mr. McMahon agreed to pay her roughly $1 million, these people said.Wall Street Journal
The third settlement, from 2006, was McMahon paying $1 million to “a former manager who had worked 10 years for [him]” after they had a sexual relationship.
In response to the report from June, McMahon said he would be stepping down as chairman and CEO while WWE’s board investigated the allegations of the $3 million settlement, but he would still be involved in the creative aspect of the company. His daughter Stephanie McMahon took over his responsibilities in the interim. The day after the report, he showed up on WWE Smackdown for a weird, brief in-ring appearance. That following Monday, he made a slightly lengthier appearance on WWE Raw. McMahon also attended UFC 276 on July 2 with his daughter, Paul Levesque (a.k.a. Triple H), and Pat McAfee. What a strange coincidence that McAfee continues to work for total creeps.
These spots were clearly intended to be an egotistical reminder that WWE is Vince McMahon, and Vince McMahon is WWE. That notion would be supported by Fightful’s report that McMahon said, “Fuck ’em!” backstage after his Smackdown appearance. The company had better hope that the two can be separated, because it’s hard to believe that McMahon’s pattern of behavior is restricted to what’s been reported so far.