Vince McMahon steps down as WWE CEO amid investigation into alleged silence payment

Vince McMahon is stepping down from his role as president and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) amid an investigation into an allegation that he paid $3 million to an employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.

The company said on Friday that McMahon is stepping down as the company’s board investigates the alleged misconduct.

The board is investigating McMahon over multi-million dollar payments he allegedly made to a company paralegal, according to the paper. Wall Street Journal.

McMahon will step down from his responsibilities as CEO and President during the course of the investigation, but will continue to perform his duties related to WWE’s creative content. The newspaper reported on Friday.

The board appointed McMahon’s daughter Stephanie McMahon Levesque as interim CEO. Last month, she stepped down from her role as the WWE Brand Director. She wrote on LinkedIn that she was “taking this time to focus on my family,” but added that she planned on returning to the company.

O Dailywho cited documents and interviews with anonymous sources familiar with the matter, reported Wednesday that the billionaire wrestling mogul reached a confidentiality agreement with his wife in January, which prevents her from discussing the intimate matters of their relationship or broadcasting Critical statements about the 76-year-old CEO.

McMahon, who purchased his father’s World Wrestling Federation, later renamed WWE, in 1982 turned the regional operation into a global wrestling entertainment powerhouse alongside his wife Linda McMahon. The company went public in 1999 and now has $1 billion in annual revenue, while the CEO himself is estimated at $2.4 billion by Forbes.

The board reportedly began its investigation into the chief executive’s deals in April, according to the report. Daily. McMahon, who remains the company’s majority shareholder, also has family members on the boardincluding her daughter, herself a retired professional wrestler, and her husband, Paul “TripleH” Levesque, also retired from a life inside the WWE ring.

The employee, who reportedly received $3 million in payments from the wrestling company’s chief executive, was reportedly involved in a consensual relationship with him. She was paid, according to the WSJthrough the personal funds of Mr. McMahon.

The separation agreement would have been signed in January of this year and prohibits the paralegal, hired in 2019, from talking about McMahon.

McMahon said in WWE’s press release on Friday that he would “do everything possible to support” the investigation.

While the investigation was initially looking at payments made to the company’s former paralegal, they also uncovered allegations of misconduct made by other women at the company against McMahon and one of the former board executives, John Laurinaitis.

Laurinaitis, who used to lead talent relations at WWE, is perhaps best known by his in-ring name Johnny Ace, as before taking a seat in the corporate boardrooms of the wrestling world, he was also a professional wrestler.

The report of Wall Street Journal they said they could not put an exact figure on the settlements, but noted that the sum was in the millions of dollars.

All settlements, the council believes, in accordance with the WSJcame from the personal funds of Mr. McMahon.

A WWE spokesperson told the newspaper that all members of the company are cooperating with the investigation, which is being conducted by Simpon Thacher & Bartlett LLP, a New York-based law firm.

Neither WWE nor McMahon’s attorney immediately responded to a request for comment from The Independent.

This isn’t the first time McMahon has been in the critical spotlight.

In April 2020, as the rampant spread of Covid-19 forced many public venues, sporting events and concert venues to close their doors, WWE resumed broadcasting live matches after being deemed an “essential service” in Florida. The fights were broadcast, albeit without an in-ring audience.

At the time, some speculated whether the relief came from the work of McMahon’s wife: the president of the pro-Trump America First Action super PAC. On the day Florida deemed WWE an essential business, the super PAC pledged to spend $18.5 million in the state.

In response to these speculations, an America First Action spokesperson told ABC News at the time that suggesting such a connection was a symptom of “Trump Breakdown Syndrome” and an example of “looking to connect some kinds of dots that just don’t exist.” . .” The spokesperson also told the news outlet that the $18 million Florida ad purchase had been earmarked a week before the executive order was amended to allow WWE to continue operations.

McMahon, herself a WWE Hall of Famer, also served in the Trump administration as head of the Small Business Administration.

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