WWE’s Vince McMahon to step down amid misconduct probe

FILE–WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a news conference announcing the WWE Network at the 2014 International CES at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on January 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP 

Vince McMahon is stepping back from his roles as chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment as the organization investigates a report that he agreed to pay hush money to a former employee over an alleged affair, the company announced Friday.

“Special Committee of the Board is conducting an investigation into alleged misconduct by its Chairman and CEO Vincent McMahon and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations, and that, effective immediately, McMahon has voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities as CEO and Chairman of the Board until the conclusion of the investigation,” the WWE said in a release.

“(McMahon) will retain his role and responsibilities related to WWE’s creative content during this period and remains committed to cooperating with the review underway.”

McMahon has owned the company, which previously was known as the World Wrestling Federation, since 1982.

The 76-year-old is scheduled to appear on “SmackDown” on Friday night.

“I have pledged my complete cooperation to the investigation by the special committee, and I will do everything possible to support the investigation,” McMahon said in the release. “I have also pledged to accept the findings and outcome of the investigation, whatever they are.”

McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, confirmed on Twitter that she will serve as interim CEO and chairwoman. She previously served as the company’s chief brand officer before taking a leave of absence last month.

“Until the conclusion of the investigation into recent allegations, I am honored to assume the role of interim Chairwoman & CEO,” she wrote.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Vince McMahon — who is married — agreed to a $3 million settlement with a former female employee, with whom he allegedly had an affair. The employee was hired as a paralegal in 2019.

Per the newspaper, an investigation into the report led to uncovering other nondisclosed agreements involving misconduct claims from former employees against McMahon and Laurinaitis.

WWE said in its release that no further comment was expected until the investigation concludes.

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