Vince McMahon, 77, retires from WWE amid sexual misconduct allegations, thanks fans in brief message
WWE boss Vince McMahon has caught the wrestling world by storm by announcing that he is retiring from the organization. In June 2022, it was widely reported that the WWE was investigating McMahon over claims of sexual misconduct. It had also emerged that Vince paid a $3 million settlement to a female staffer with whom he allegedly had a secret affair.
McMahon had been serving as CEO and chairman of WWE since the early 1980s, taking over then from his father, Vince McMahon Sr. The erstwhile's daughter Stephanie McMahon will now hold the fort as chairwoman and Co-CEO along with Co-CEO Nick Khan. Following her dad's retirement announcement, Stephanie made an appearance at the WWE Smackdown event on Friday, July 22, where she thanked fans for their support as chants of 'Thank you, Vince' filled the moment.
McMahon also posted a goodbye message for his fans on Twitter, which read, "At 77, time for me to retire. Thank you, WWE Universe. Then. Now. Forever. Together."
The WWE also announced that Stephanie's husband, Paul 'Triple H' Levesque, would now return to his role as EVP of Talent Relations with the organization.
Vince's 'Sexual Misconduct' Controversy
As per the January 2022 separation agreement between McMahon and the female staffer, who was hired as a paralegal in 2019, the now-former employee is barred from discussing her relationship with McMahon or disparaging him, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The former employee, 41, had fallen on hard times before joining the company and spoke of needing extra money, said people who spoke with her while she worked at WWE. Even Vince’s on-camera persona, McMahon, has portrayed a womanizer for years. McMahon’s antics included having close relationships with the younger, female talent.
The Wall Street Journal also claims that McMahon has spent $12 million over the last 16 years to hide allegations of 'sexual misconduct and infidelity'. These payments were allegedly made to four female employees who were earlier working with the company. It is said the $12 million included $7.5 million to a former WWE female wrestler who said the WWE boss coerced her into oral sex, later demoted her and didn't renew her contract in 2005 after she refused more sexual encounters with him.
McMahon hadn't spoken in direct reference to the allegations but vowed that he would support the investigation process. "I love this company and am committed to working with the Independent Directors to strengthen our culture and our Company; it is extremely important to me that we have a safe and collaborative workplace," he said in a statement issued in June. "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."
World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE, became a publicly traded company in 1999. It was earlier known as the World Wrestling Federation. WWE's top two shows, Raw and SmackDown have dominated cable TV since the 1990s. The void of legacy after McMahon's retirement will be hard to fill as the company has struggled in recent times with maintaining the same level of fan engagement with some of the industry's popular stars leaving for Hollywood or retiring.