Wall Street Journal reports Vince McMahon paid $12 million in hush money to 4 women


While under investigation by the WWE board for a $3 million hush payment to a former employee, it was learned that WWE CEO, Vince McMahon, paid $12 million in hush money to her and three other women. The explosive reporting comes from Joe Palazzolo, Ted Mann, and Joe Flint of The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription). Pazzolo was the one who broke the story of the $3 million hush pact.

The money paid to the four women has occurred over the last 16 years. All four women have been affiliated with WWE and signed agreements with McMahon to keep quiet. These settlements were previously unreported. In the first report by Pazzolo, The Wall Street Journal said the board had  “unearthed other, older nondisclosure agreements involving claims by former female WWE employees of misconduct by Mr. McMahon…”.

Vince McMahon has paid three additional women to keep quiet

One of the settlements is from a former wrestler who alleged that she was forced to perform oral sex on McMahon. She was later demoted and didn’t have her contract renewed in 2005. The woman claims this was in retaliation for resisting further encounters. According to the report, the woman and her lawyer negotiated a deal in 2018 for $7.5 million with McMahon in “return for her silence”.

In 2006, a former manager was paid $1 million to keep her from sharing that McMahon initiated a sexual relationship after she’d been with the company for a decade. The article does not clarify whether this was a manager within WWE’s corporate offices or an on-screen manager.

In another instance, a woman was paid nearly $1 million in 2008 after she presented WWE nude photos of McMahon that she received unsolicited. The former WWE contractor said he sexually harassed her on the job. She also signed a nondisclosure agreement.

Vince McMahon is still on WWE TV

When the bombshell article dropped, Vince McMahon stepped down from his role as CEO and Chairman. In the interim, his daughter, Stephanie, was named CEO and Chairwoman. Vince has not been removed from the creative team as of this writing.

On the day of the initial report, Vince went on SmackDown to address the audience without directly addressing the probe or even that he had stepped down as CEO and Chairman. He also appeared on RAW the following Monday to hype up John Cena’s return to celebrate 20 years of being in WWE. He was on TV a third time to introduce Cena to the WWE Universe.

On the same night as Money in the Bank, he attended the UFC show across the street. He was photographed with Stephanie, Triple H, and WWE commentator, Pat McAfee.

WWE Head of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis, is also part of the WWE board investigation as he was connected to the first woman that McMahon paid $3 million. While he’s under investigation, he has been removed from his position. Bruce Prichard has been named the interim Head of Talent Relations.

According to Fightful Select, many within the company believe that Laurinaitis is done, but has a “golden parachute” deal where WWE will take care of him.

Last night, it was reported on July 6 that WWE board member, Connor Schell, resigned. The former ESPN executive was elected to the board last year. His statement doesn’t mention the ongoing investigation into McMahon.

“On July 6, 2022, Connor Schell resigned from the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (the“Company”), effective immediately. Mr. Schell resigned from the Board due to an increased slate of responsibilities resulting from his new, expanded role at the newly formed The North Road Company, a global, multi-genre content studio. Mr. Schell’s decision to resign from the Board was not due to any dispute or disagreement with the Company, its management or the Board on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.”

Others have publicly come forward against McMahon

As I mentioned in my previous article about the McMahon investigation, he was accused of rape by former WWE referee, Rita Chatterton. Since then, Chatterton has spoken about the incident and a  former wrestler has corroborated her story. The statute of limitations has expired in her case, however, it does give credibility to McMahon taking advantage of his position to pressure women.

While it will be easy to connect the dots on some of the women who have made settlements with McMahon, they deserve privacy and respect. These women were preyed upon while doing their jobs. This information coming out can not only humiliate them but make them relive past trauma. They all have NDAs at this time and cannot publicly comment. Please leave them be and empathize with what they must be going through.

This is an ongoing story. Stay tuned to Daily DDT as it develops.





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