World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announced Friday that Vince McMahon has stepped away from his role as CEO after allegations emerged that he paid hush money to a former employee to silence their affair.
A release issued by the WWE revealed that a Special Committee of the Board has launched an investigation into the allegations against McMahon and John Laurinatis, and that McMahon “voluntarily stepped back” from his role until the conclusion of the investigation, according to ESPN. McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, has stepped in to serve as the interim CEO and chairwoman, according to ESPN.
Mr. McMahon will appear on SmackDown tonight at 8 PM ET live on FOX. pic.twitter.com/6XEEDwR0Hy
— WWE (@WWE) June 17, 2022
“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the Special Committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation. I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are,” McMahon said in a statement included in the announcement. In the interim, McMahon is still maintaining his position and continues to be actively involved in the organization. He will continue to “retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during this period,” the WWE said, according to ESPN.
McMahon will still appear Friday on “SmackDown,” as previously scheduled.(RELATED: Female SpaceX President Stands By Elon Musk Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations)
Until the conclusion of the investigation into recent allegations, I am honored to assume the role of interim Chairwoman & CEO. I love @WWE and all it continues to do to entertain billions around the world. https://t.co/E2MushpoSG
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) June 17, 2022
The investigation stems from accusations that rose to the surface Wednesday alleging that McMahon agreed to pay a former paralegal of the company a $3 million settlement in exchange for her silence about the details of her relationship with McMahon, according to The Wall Street Journal. The money was also believed to have acted as a payout to prevent the former employee from making disparaging comments about McMahon, reported the outlet.
The internal investigation began in April and has reportedly unearthed documents related to other misconduct claims from former employees, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The WWE has stated they will not release any further comment on this matter until the conclusion of the investigation.