In a case befitting of a pro wrestling storyline, World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon is being investigated by the company board of directors over reports that he paid a former employee $3 million to keep quiet about their alleged affair. The Wall Street Journal first broke the news of the inquiry on Wednesday. The publication also alludes to access to documents and individuals close to the situation.
McMahon, who has been married to his wife Linda for 56 years, is said to have been in a sexual relationship with a former WWE paralegal. Their affair was consensual, per a WWE spokesperson. But their liaison triggered her exit from the company in January of this year. The board says it began doing its diligence three months later. It also found that she signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that prohibits her from “disparaging him” or commenting about her connection to the 76-year-old billionaire.
The WSJ reports that it was the international law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP that handled the probe. The investigation is also said to have unveiled a slew of other similar arrangements between McMahon and various women involved with WWE during his tenure. He reportedly also made one such payment on behalf of John Laurinaitis, the company’s general manager of talent relations who’s been working for McMahon since 2001.
Jerry McDevitt, McMahon’s attorney, told the WSJ that it wasn’t the paralegal who brought up any harassment claims against his client. McDevitt also denies that the WWE gave the woman any type of “hush money.”
The WWE says that it is “cooperating fully with the board inquiry,” per WSJ. The organization’s spokesperson went on to say the WWE “takes the allegations seriously and is dealing with them appropriately.”
Twitter is already calling for Vince McMahon’s takedown, especially amid the rumors that Smackdown superstar Sasha Banks is being released from the company to distract from the CEO’s problems. Take a look at some of the tweets below: