WWE’s Board of Directors are investigating a $3 million settlement that Vince McMahon agreed to pay to a former employee who he allegedly had an affair with.
The Wall Street Journal reports that WWE’s Board of Directors has been investigating the settlement since April, and has uncovered other, older nondisclosure agreements involving both McMahon and head of talent relations John Laurinaitis that totaled to millions of dollars. The board learned of the $3 million settlement via anonymous emails received from someone identifying themselves as a friend of the former employee.
The first email, which was sent to the board on March 30, alleges that McMahon initially hired the woman as a paralegal at $100,000 a year, but was later bumped up to $200,000 after McMahon began a sexual relationship with her. The email also alleged that McMahon “gave her like a toy” to Laurinaitis. The settlement, which took place in January of this year bars the former employee, who was hired in 2019, from discussing her relationship with McMahon. The former employee moved from WWE’s legal department to become an assistant to Laurinaitis in 2021.
"My friend was so scared so she quit after Vince McMahon and lawyer Jerry [McDevitt] paid her millions of dollars to shut up," the email that was sent to WWE's board stated.
The nondisclosure agreement, which WWE’s Board of Directors received a copy of on June 12, provided an upfront payment of $1 million dollars to the former employee, with the remaining $2 million to be distributed over the next five years.
The report also said that investigators have learned in recent days of other nondisclosure agreements involving McMahon and Laurinaitis. The Wall Street Journal couldn’t confirm how many previous agreements are under investigation.
A WWE spokesman in the report said the company is cooperating fully with the board inquiry and said that the relationship with the ex-paralegal was consensual. WWE later issued an internal statement to staff after The Wall Street Journal's story was published.
"The Wall Street Journal has published a report about WWE with allegations that we and our Board of Directors take seriously. We are cooperating fully with the independent investigation initiated by our Board of Directors," WWE's statement read.
Jerry McDevitt, McMahon’s attorney, told the Wall Street Journal that the employee had made no claims of harassment against McMahon and that “WWE did not pay monies” to the former employee “on her departure.”