WWE’s Vince McMahon paid more than $12 million to settle sexual misconduct allegations, report says

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Vince McMahon attends a press conference to announce that WWE Wrestlemania 29 will be held at MetLife Stadium in 2013 at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Michael N. Todaro | Getty Images

WWE‘s Vince McMahon paid more than $12 million to four women over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The women were all formerly affiliated with World Wrestling Entertainment, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the agreements and documents. The newspaper reported in June that WWE’s board was investigating a secret $3 million settlement McMahon paid to a paralegal he allegedly had an affair with.

In its report Friday, the Journal reported three additional hush-money payments between 2006 and 2018: one for $7.5 million to a former wrestler who alleged McMahon coerced her into giving him oral sex and later declined to renew her contract after she resisted subsequent sexual encounters; another for $1 million to a woman who had worked as a WWE contractor and said she received unsolicited nude photos from McMahon; and a third in the amount of about $1 million to a former manager who worked with McMahon for a decade.

WWE did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the latest allegations.

WWE announced last month that McMahon was stepping back from his role as CEO and chairman − but retaining his responsibilities related to the company’s creative content − pending an investigation into his alleged misconduct. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, was named interim CEO.

“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 the release at the time. “I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are.”

WWE’s board is investigating McMahon’s deals with the wrestler and the former paralegal, the Journal reported. The WWE board is also investigating allegations against WWE executive John Laurinaitis, who used to wrestle under the name Johnny Ace.

The investigation, which began in April, was set off by several anonymous emails that threatened to reveal details of the settlement between McMahon and the former paralegal, the Journal reported.

WWE’s share prices were down about 1% at $64.21 Friday.

Read the full report by the Wall Street Journal.

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