WWE board opens inquiry into CEO Vince McMahon

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Report: WWE board opens inquiry into CEO Vince McMahon's alleged $3M settlement for ex-employee's silence

The board of World Wrestling Entertainment is investigating a secret $3 million settlement that company CEO Vince McMahon agreed to make to a former employee over an alleged affair, according to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday. The separation agreement, which was signed in January, is meant to prevent the now-former employee from discussing her relationship with McMahon or making disparaging comments about him, according to the Journal. An email sent to WWE board members March 30 indicates that the 76-year-old McMahon hired the former staffer, 41, on a $100,000 salary and then gave her a raise to $200,000 after the start of the alleged sexual relationship with her.

The email sent to the board regarding the former WWE employee, who was hired as a paralegal in 2019, alleged that McMahon gave the woman to Laurinaitis "like a toy." The board is investigating the email's allegations, the report stated. The Journal reported that the board has retained the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett to conduct the investigation and that payments of other nondisclosure agreements, outside of the one involving the former employee, have totaled in the millions of dollars. McMahon bought the then-World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from his father, Vincent J. McMahon, in 1982 and built the company into a global wrestling powerhouse and media conglomerate that has produced crossover stars such as Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Cena.

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Vince McMahon will step down during WWE misconduct probe


Vince McMahon is stepping down as CEO and chairman of WWE during an an investigation into alleged misconduct involving the longtime leader and public face of the organization. McMahon will continue to oversee WWE’s creative content during the investigation, World Wrestling Entertainment said Friday, and named McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, as interim CEO and chairwoman. Vince McMahon will appear on its live show “SmackDown” later Friday, WWE said on Twitter after it announced the changes in leadership.The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that WWE was investigating an alleged $3 million payment from McMahon to a departing female employee following a consensual affair.“ I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the special committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation,” McMahon said in a prepared statement Friday. “I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are.” The employee, hired as a paralegal in 2019, has a separation agreement from January that prevents her from discussing her relationship with McMahon or disparaging him, the Journal reported.
Outside of the investigation, WWE said Friday that the company and its special committee will work with an independent third-party to perform a comprehensive review of the work environment at the organization. Vince McMahon has been the leader and most recognizable face at WWE for decades.

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CeeJay

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WWE Lost a Half-Billion in Value Since Vince McMahon Probe — but Ratings Have Jumped


It was all good just a week ago. Last Wednesday, pro-wrestling giant WWE had a market cap just above $5 billion. Since then, when news came out about its board investigating longtime Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon paying millions of dollars in hush money to an ex-employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, WWE has lost $500 million in valuation. At this writing, shares in the publicly traded WWE were down 10 percent in the last week. Not all of WWE’s key metrics are in decline. On the flip side are the company’s TV ratings: Both Friday’s “SmackDown” (which aired live mere hours after McMahon announced he would step aside while the board investigates the matter) and Monday’s “RAW” jumped in viewership, according to Nielsen.

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LAW FIRMS WANT VINCE MCMAHON TO TESTIFY UNDER OATH IN CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT


At least seven law firms are investigating whether the recent Vince McMahon hush-money scandal harmed investors who held stock in WWE. Since the scandal broke, Vince McMahon temporarily stepped down as CEO and WWE lost $578 million in value. The stock fell from around $67 per share to under $60. Attorneys have been trying to determine if a class-action lawsuit can be brought against the company to recover those losses. WWE could face significant financial liability if enough evidence is gathered. The interested firms are already looking for investors to join a potential suit. There is another twist to the story that will be of extreme interest to WWE’s board of directors. In this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer discussed the potential lawsuits. One of the main ideas is to force Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis to testify under oath during discovery. WWE would not be thrilled with that, opening the possibility for settlements before the cases ever get started.

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She Was WWE’s First Female Referee. She Says Vince McMahon Raped Her.


On August 28, 2021, Rita Chatterton, a sandy-haired 64-year-old woman, stood at a podium in Albany to receive a “Trailblazer Award” from the International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was the brainchild of a wrestling fan named Seth Turner, who wanted to honor Chatterton for being the World Wrestling Federation’s first female referee. “Seth calls me and says, ‘Rita, I need you to do the Hall of Fame with me,’” Chatterton recalls. At first she refused; she didn’t want to revisit her time with the WWF, now known as WWE. But Turner finally convinced her, and she was ultimately glad she did it. “I always said I don’t want to live and die and be forgotten,” she told him. Chatterton has been forgotten before. In 1992, she came forward publicly to accuse Vincent Kennedy McMahon, the iron-willed owner of the WWF, of raping her in the summer of 1986. However, the statute of limitations for rape had already run out by then, so no charges were brought against McMahon. What’s more, the accusation came out while the WWF was mired in a number of unrelated scandals, and it got lost in the shuffle.

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Rita Chatterton (center) said Vince McMahon told her that if she “wanted a half-a-million-dollar-a-year contract,” she would have “to satisfy him.” Photo: Courtesy the International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. This article was featured in One Great Story, New York’s reading recommendation newsletter. Sign up here to get it nightly. On August 28, 2021, Rita Chatterton, a sandy-haired 64-year-old woman, stood at a podium in Albany to receive a “Trailblazer Award” from the International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was the brainchild of a wrestling fan named Seth Turner, who wanted to honor Chatterton for being the World Wrestling Federation’s first female referee. “Seth calls me and says, ‘Rita, I need you to do the Hall of Fame with me,’” Chatterton recalls. At first she refused; she didn’t want to revisit her time with the WWF, now known as WWE. But Turner finally convinced her, and she was ultimately glad she did it. “I always said I don’t want to live and die and be forgotten,” she told him. Chatterton has been forgotten before. In 1992, she came forward publicly to accuse Vincent Kennedy McMahon, the iron-willed owner of the WWF, of raping her in the summer of 1986. However, the statute of limitations for rape had already run out by then, so no charges were brought against McMahon. What’s more, the accusation came out while the WWF was mired in a number of unrelated scandals, and it got lost in the shuffle. Since then, her story was whispered about and occasionally cited by wrestling journalists bold enough to risk earning McMahon’s ire. But such occasions have been rare. The reporters’ reticence had been understandable, and not just because they fear McMahon. The bigger problem has been that no one would come forward to speak on the record.

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By Abraham Riesman
 

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Rape Allegations Against Vince McMahon By WWE’s First Female Referee Resurface Amid Scathing Report


Vince McMahon's history of sexual misconduct and assault allegations are coming to light in a scathing new report. McMahon initially came under fire after the Wall Street Journal reported that the WWE board was investigating the famous wrestling promoter for allegedly paying $3 million to a former employee in exchange for her silence on an alleged affair between them. He then stepped down as CEO of the WWE two days later amidst the allegations. However, in the wake of the report, past allegations against McMahon have also resurfaced. In 1992, a WWE referee accused McMahon of raping her in 1986.

On January 28, 200, a 22-year-old woman working at a tanning salon in Boca Raton, Florida told police that McMahon showed her nude photos of himself on his cell phone against her will. She added that he then cornered her in the tanning room and forcibly kissed and groped her, as well as attempted to remove her shirt before she escaped. She then fled to a Papa John’s next door, where McMahon sat outside in his Hummer for an extended period of time.

However, State Attorney’s Office was unable to press charges against McMahon. Mike Edmondson, an office spokesperson, explained in 2018 that the standard for filing charges is beyond just reasonable doubt.“ A misdemeanor that is not done in the presence of a law enforcement officer in Florida generally is not a prosecutable case unless there is an independent witness and or physical evidence as in photos—that kind of thing,” Edmondson said.

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30 years after WWE's first female referee accused Vince McMahon of raping her, an ex-wrestler has claimed it's true


  • Rita Chatterton, the WWE's first female referee, accused Vince McMahon in 1992 of raping her.
  • An ex-pro wrestler said in a New York magazine story that Chatterton's allegation was true.
  • McMahon recently stepped away from his CEO role amid an inquiry into separate misconduct claims.

A former wrestler said an allegation made by the WWE's first female referee who accused Vince McMahon, the organization's former CEO, of raping her in 1986 was true. Leonard Inzitari, the ex-wrestler whose in-ring name was Mario Mancini, said the allegation made by Rita Chatterton was true. He made the claim to the journalist Abe Riesman in a story published by New York magazine Monday. Riesman is writing a book about McMahon called "Ringmaster," which is set to be released in March. It's the first time a wrestler has backed up Chatterton's accusation. Chatterton came forward publicly with the accusation in 1992, alleging that McMahon raped her in his limo in 1986. She declined to press charges, and the statute of limitations for rape had passed at the time, Riesman reported.

Inzitari said in the New York magazine story that Chatterton confided in him in 1986. He said Chatterton told him McMahon "took his penis out" and "forced my head down there." He added that she told him McMahon then "pulled me on top of him," forced off her jeans, and was then "inside her."

Chatterton had made her claim public on "The Geraldo Rivera Show." The WWF didn't comment at the time on the allegation, but McMahon called the accusation false in a lawsuit, Riesman reported. McMahon and his wife, Linda, sued Chatterton, Rivera, and members of Rivera's production team after the interview aired, alleging that the defendants were part of a conspiracy to inflict "severe emotional distress" on the McMahons with "the fabrication of a false accusation of rape." The lawsuit was eventually dropped, Riesman reported.

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Report: WWE's Vince McMahon paid total of $12M to 4 women to quiet sexual misconduct allegations


Vince McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) longtime leader, allegedly paid out millions in hush money to a former female wrestler with whom he had a coercive sexual relationship and who was allegedly not brought back to WWE after spurning further sexual advances from the executive, according to a report published Friday in the Wall Street Journal. McMahon allegedly paid out $7.5 million to the former wrestler, who claimed that McMahon coerced her into giving him oral sex, demoted her and then decided not to renew her contract in 2005 after she resisted further sexual encounters with him, per the Journal report. The wrestler and her lawyer reportedly negotiated a non-disclosure agreement with McMahon in 2018. The Journal report details a total of $12 million allegedly paid out to four women over the last 16 years to quiet allegations of the 76-year-old McMahon's sexual misconduct.

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Latest Allegations Mean Vince McMahon's Days at WWE May Be Numbered

There is a pattern to McMahon’s alleged behavior that makes it all the more damning and indicates that more accounts of misconduct could be coming.

On Friday the Wall Street Journal reported that McMahon paid $12 million to four women over the past 16 years to silence “allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.” One of the nondisclosure deals involved McMahon and a former wrestler, where, according to the Journal, he “coerced her into giving him oral sex and then demoted her and ultimately declined to renew her contract after she resisted further sexual encounters.” This comes after a June 15 Journal report that McMahon paid $3 million in hush money to a woman with whom he allegedly had an affair. There is no excuse for the hideous nature of the alleged behavior, and there is a disturbing pattern with regard to the NDAs, where McMahon has repeatedly, it’s been reported, used money to cover up misconduct. Further complicating this situation is that McMahon is well positioned to protect himself. He owns the bulk of shareholding voting power. But how can the company and its board not react to the recent reports? There have been no denials from McMahon, though his PR team is already in motion.

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What Does the Vince McMahon Scandal Mean for WWE Stock?

The longtime boss of sports-entertainment company WWE has, at least for now, stepped down as chairman and CEO.

McMahon has not always held the CEO title, his wife Linda served in that role before moving into politics but he has always owned a controlling interest and been the big boss regardless of his actual title. A WWE without McMahon seemed like something that might happen only if the longtime company leader and television personality died. Now, the unthinkable seems at least something worth considering as McMahon has stepped aside as chairman and CEO, while the company investigates allegations that he paid $12 million in hush money to women with whom he had sexual relationships."Four former female WWE employees received the payments, and they cannot disclose any information regarding their relations with the 76-year-old after signing agreements with him. Three of the cases regarding McMahon’s allegations released in the report Friday were previously not publicly known," Sports Illustrated reported.

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WSJ Reporters Give Insight Into Their Blockbuster Vince McMahon Stories


Over the last several months, Wall Street Journal reporters Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann have uncovered several stories alleging that former WWE CEO and chairman Vince McMahon paid more than $12 million to several women, over the course of 16 years, to keep several affairs and/or cases of sexual misconduct under wraps. The ramifications of the allegations have already been felt by WWE, with Netflix reportedly dropping an upcoming docuseries focused on McMahon following Palazzolo and Mann’s reporting. “Sources told us, it was in April, that WWE’s board was investigating this $3 million agreement with the woman who worked for McMahon,” Palazzolo said. “It basically took from April until we published our story to firm all that up, get additional sources and understand what it was the board was doing.” The duo also agreed on the most surprising revelation they found in their reporting to date. “The fact that there was one that was for $7.5 million was fairly eye-popping,” Mann said. “That’s a figure, in the murky world of NDAs, clearly suggests a big secret being kept. And that was one of the red flags that signaled to us that we had to get to the bottom of what that was, what it was for.”

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The WSJ found this was just the latest in a series of NDAs related to sexual behavior. McMahon had already taken leave from his roles as chairman and CEO, with daughter Stephanie McMahon stepping in on an interim basis after recently taking a leave of absence as chief brand officer, with that role being added to WWE president Nick Khan’s office.
 

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Vince McMahon's XFL Lawsuit Officially Dismissed


WWE's Vince McMahon just received some good news, as Former XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck and McMahon have come to a confidential settlement regarding the lawsuit against McMahon for termination without cause (via PWinsider). The lawsuit was officially dismissed with prejudice on June 29th in the United States District Court of Connecticut, though the settlement amount is not known at this time. The two sides originally held a settlement conference earlier in the year, but reports at the time said that conference just lasted 9 minutes, moving that case to trail. For those unfamiliar with the XFL lawsuit, Luck alleges that he was fired without cause and had a personal guarantee from McMahon regarding his contract. Luck has said he was supposed to be paid between $20 and $25 million over the course of five years, and as part of the lawsuit has asked a judge to order McMahon to store $23.8 million to reward him after the suit is decided in his favor.

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CeeJay

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Vince McMahon's hush-money scandal: A window into Trump's America


The Wall Street Journal last month broke the story of WWE mogul Vince McMahon's payments of hush money to an office paralegal whom he had coerced into a sexual relationship. Since then, the Journal's reporting has expanded into revelations that McMahon, over the years, paid out a total of $12 million to silence current or former WWE employees who alleged sexual harassment. The claims also extended to WWE's top executive for talent relations, John Laurinaitis (brother of the late "Road Warrior Animal," Joe Laurinaitis, and uncle of former NFL linebacker James Laurinaitis). As chronicled by the newspaper of record of the financial ruling class, these long-whispered scandals became an affair of state. Following its origins as a third-generation northeastern promotional stronghold of pro wrestling's pre-cable territorial era, WWE is now a publicly traded multinational corporation on the New York Stock Exchange. After the first Wall Street Journal report, McMahon resigned as chair and CEO of WWE. He was replaced by his daughter Stephanie, who plays Christie, the enlightened and strong feminist heir, to Vince's Hugh Hefner. (Stephanie is married to former wrestler and current company executive Paul "Triple H" Levesque.)

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Backstage WWE Reaction To Latest Vince McMahon-WSJ Story


Upon publishing the story, Fightful was contacted by multiple WWE staff, including some who had remained quiet in the past about McMahon's handling of the situation. One told Fightful they wished they'd spoken out sooner, and said that McMahon's response would often go from "no selling the whole thing," to "being defiant." They also said that after Vince McMahon's "pointless" June 17 appearance, he returned to the Gorilla position and shouted "Fuck em!" seemingly in response to the allegations that caused his insistence to appear on television. McMahon has appeared on 3 episodes of Raw and Smackdown total since then, and made a rare public appearance at UFC 276. He's scheduled to be at the site of Smackdown on Friday night, but we don't know if he's appearing on screen. WWE talent have not been available to speak on the record about the allegations and reports, but have spoken with Fightful privately and expressed displeasure and extreme frustration with Vince McMahon's handling of it.


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Vince McMahon once scripted Brock Lesnar’s wife as his mistress


[/size=5]Vince McMahon played out a script which had Brock Lesnar’s future wife Sable as his mistress. McMahon is under investigation by the WWE following another revelation last week that he paid $12 million hush money to four female employees. In 1999 Sable filed a $110m lawsuit against the WWE for sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions. She also alleged that some of the men wrestlers used to walk into the women wrestlers’ changing rooms and there were also holes cut into the walls.The lawsuit was settled out of court but upon her return four years later, McMahon put her into a storyline where she was his mistress and she had to make out with him. The storyline continued. McMahon’s daughter Stephanie, currently running the WWE with husband Triple H (Paul Levesque), started feuding with Sable. According to the script, written by McMahon, this didn’t go down well with him. This led to him putting his own daughter in some dangerous situations in the ring while he looked on.

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