Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon left the company with a fortune of $3.4 billion after he retired last week amid a sexual harassment scandal that involved millions of dollars in hush money payments, according to reports.
In addition to retiring as a multi-billionaire, McMahon still holds voting control in the wrestling entertainment company, Bloomberg reported. McMahon also remains WWE’s largest shareholder with a 32% stake in the company.
The WWE revealed on Monday that McMahon paid $14.6 million in hush money to several women who alleged sexual misconduct between the years 2006 and 2022.
In an SEC filing, the company said that the multi-million dollar payments were classified as “unrecorded expenses” and said it plans to restate its finances to reflect the expenditures.
All of the payments were either paid or will be paid by McMahon, the WWE said in the filing.
McMahon, 76, announced his retirement days earlier on July 22. McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon, will be chairwoman and co-CEO with Nick Khan, who joined WWE as president from CAA in 2020.
She had stepped in as interim CEO when the board began its investigation into the allegations, which it is still investigating. Her husband Paul Levesque, a former WWE wrestler, also sits on the board.
“Our global audience can take comfort in knowing WWE will continue to entertain you with the same fervor, dedication, and passion as always,” McMahon said in a statement. “I am extremely confident in the continued success of WWE, and I leave our company in the capable hands of an extraordinary group of Superstars, employees, and executives …”
“As the majority shareholder, I will continue to support WWE in any way I can. My personal thanks to our community and business partners, shareholders, and Board of Directors for their guidance and support through the years. Then. Now. Forever. Together.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported the investigation began after the WWE was tipped off that the CEO had paid a former employee $3 million to keep quiet about their affair. According to an email obtained by the outlet, McMahon hired the woman as a paralegal to a $100,000 salary, and doubled it after the affair began.
The report said McMahon paid as much as $12 million to four women over at least 16 years. One of the accusers is a former wrestler who claimed in 2018 that years earlier McMahon had coerced her into oral sex before he demoted her when she ended the relationship.
McMahon’s retirement has led to some speculation that the WWE may be up for sale, Bloomberg reported, but the future of the company and McMahon’s future involvement is uncertain.