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New report on Vince McMahon NDAs includes hush money payments to former wrestler

The Wall Street Journal team who broke the Vince McMahon hush money story last month have published a new report with more details. Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann’s June 15 account of the WWE Board’s investigation into alleged misconduct by McMahon and his long-time lieutenant John Laurinaitis resulted in Vince voluntarily stepping back from his roles as CEO & Chairman... and multiple on camera, “in character” appearances from McMahon on WWE television.

While that report was more general, their byline today (July 8) with Joe Flint goes into much more detail. It brings the total to four women who are said to have been paid $12 million by WWE’s long-time leader in exchange for their silence on alleged sexual misconduct.

Two in particular would seem to refute the narrative that McMahon’s various encounters were all consensual:

The previously unreported settlements include a $7.5 million pact with a former wrestler who alleged that Mr. McMahon coerced her into giving him oral sex and then demoted her and, ultimately, declined to renew her contract in 2005 after she resisted further sexual encounters, according to people familiar with the matter. The wrestler and her attorney approached Mr. McMahon in 2018 and negotiated the payment in return for her silence, the people said.

In another previously unreported deal, a WWE contractor presented the company with unsolicited nude photos of Mr. McMahon she reported receiving from him and alleged that he had sexually harassed her on the job, according to people familiar with the woman’s 2008 nondisclosure agreement. Mr. McMahon agreed to pay her roughly $1 million, these people said.

The other newly discovered NDA covered by The Journal was to a “former manager who had worked 10 years for Mr. McMahon before he allegedly initiated a sexual relationship with her.” She was apparently “paid $1 million to keep quiet about it.”

It’s not clear if these agreements are part of the WWE Board’s current investigation. A spokesperson for the independent body declined to comment to WSJ. It’s also not clear if a recently corroborated rape allegation against McMahon from the 1980s is under review by the Board.

Today’s report does note that according to former WWE employees, “Mr. McMahon’s affairs at the company were common knowledge.”

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