June 17, 2022
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and its board of directors June 17 announced that a special committee of the board is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct by its chairman/CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations.
Effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities until the conclusion of the investigation. McMahon will retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during this period. WWE said McMahon will still appear on “SmackDown” tonight at 8 p.m. ET live on Fox.
The special committee has appointed longtime WWE executive Stephanie McMahon, daughter of Linda and Vince McMahon, to serve as interim CEO and interim chairwoman.
The move comes after media reports said a former WWE female employee was paid an alleged $3 million hush settlement to cover up an affair with Mr. McMahon.
“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,” Mr. McMahon said in a statement.
In a statement, Stephanie McMahon said she was committed to working with the independent directors to strengthen the culture and WWE.
“It is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace,” she said. “I have committed to doing everything in my power to help the special committee complete its work, including marshaling the cooperation of the entire company to assist in the completion of the investigation and to implement its findings.”
In addition, the special committee and WWE will work with an independent third-party to conduct a comprehensive review of the company’s compliance program, HR function and overall culture.
In 2021, NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform acquired exclusive rights to the WWE Network in a five-year deal worth a reported $1 billion.