New York (AFP) – Vince McMahon, longtime director of World Wrestling Entertainment, has agreed to pay more than $12 million over the past 16 years to quell allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The amount is much larger than previously known.
Citing people familiar with the deals and documents it reviewed, the magazine reported Friday that four women – all formerly affiliated with WWE – have signed agreements with McMahon, 76, that prevent them from discussing their relationships with him.
McMahon resigned as CEO and Chairman of WWE in mid-June During an investigation into alleged misconduct, the newspaper reported at the time that he agreed to pay $3 million to a former paralegal who said he sexually harassed her while working.
McMahon will continue to oversee WWE’s creative content during the investigation.
WWE has appointed McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, as interim CEO and President during an investigation into his alleged misconduct although he continues to oversee the company’s creative side. The organization stated at the time that it would have no further comment until the investigation was over.
McMahon has been the leader and most famous in WWE for decades. When he bought what was then the World Wrestling Federation, from his father in 1982, wrestling matches were held in small venues and featured on local cable channels.
WWE matches are now held in professional sports venues and have a large following abroad. It has a broadcasting partnership with the Saudi media company MBC Group.
The organization underwent a seismic transformation under McMahon’s leadership with events such as WrestleMania, a premium live production that attracts millions of enthusiastic viewers.
Revenue last year topped $1 billion for the first time, and the company has television deals with Fox and NBCUniversal. Last month, it announced a multi-year expansion of its original software partnership with A&E.
WWE superstars became cross sensations, including Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and John Cena.
Shares of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. fell. , based in Stamford, Connecticut, down 2% on Friday.
“Travel junkie. Coffee lover. Incurable social media evangelist. Zombie maven.”