The Wall Street Journal reports that Vince McMahon, chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, paid a woman who used to work for it $3 million in hush money.
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.'s board is looking into a secret $3 million payment that Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon made to a female former employee with whom he allegedly had an affair, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the board's action. McMahon had other non-disclosure agreements regarding alleged misconduct with female employees that the board was investigating, the newspaper reported, citing the people. The probe, which began in April, also reportedly unearthed similar pacts made with former female workers on behalf of John Laurinaitis, a former wrestler who manages talent relations for WWE. The paper said it couldn't determine how many such pacts were being reviewed.
Wrestling has a spectacular ability to blend reality and fiction. From the perspective of people that aren't savvy about the business, the whole thing seems fake. However, when you learn the ropes of the wrestling world, you become privy to a curious business where life frequently imitates art. There are far too many examples to list, so for the sake of brevity, I'll zero in on Vince McMahon.
To the world at large, McMahon is an enterprising and charismatic CEO who also plays the main villain of a wrestling brand predominantly aimed at children. Studious wrestling fans like myself see McMahon in a much different light. From deliberately handicapping his wrestlers from getting health insurance and benefits by incorrectly labeling them independent contractors to turning a blind eye to rampant steroid use in his locker rooms, McMahon has built a tainted legacy outside wrestling's fictional reality.
One of the most persistent claims against McMahon is the slew of sexual misconduct allegations that have followed him for years. For the most part, McMahon has managed to avoid the accusations against him. Not any more.