WSJ Reporters Tease More Vince McMahon Allegations

WSJ Reporters Tease More Vince McMahon Allegations

WSJ Reporters Tease More Vince McMahon Allegations – Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann of The Wall Street Journal recently appeared on Busted Open Radio to discuss their reports on WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, and Talent Relations head John Laurinaitis, and indicated that there may be more allegations to come.

Palazzolo and Mann noted how they began working on the story back in April when they first heard about the Board of Directors’ special committee investigation into the alleged $3 million “hush pact” McMahon had with a former WWE paralegal. It was noted that their call list for these stories was over 100 people.

WWE Hall of Famer Bully Ray, who co-hosts Busted Open, asked about why they chose to cover the story.

Palazzolo responded, “Well, a couple of reasons. First of all, Wall Street Journal covers public companies, WWE is a public company. This is clearly a governance issue, right? We write for investors and when your Board of Directors is investigating something like this and I mean it’s pretty interesting, right? So the Board, which it’s a 12-member Board and four of those members are insiders, meaning that they work for the company and then the eight are independent but when it comes down to it, Vince [McMahon] controls the company essentially. So, there’s a governance issue. It’s important for our readers to understand what’s going on and then we sort of knew that these allegations while the company is saying that this is a consensual relationship that he had with this woman, we started hearing about other issues that were not consensual so, you know, we feel like those are things that need to be reported as well.”

Mann added, “And I will just add one thing to that. As Joe said, it’s a public company and we’re operating in an environment where there is very little tolerance for any sort of relationship of this type between CEO or an Executive or someone who is a subordinate, even if it is consensual, because the power dynamic that exists there is something that has proved to be really dangerous for the more subordinate person in the company and so, that’s one of the ways in which all public companies have been representing that they’re not really going to allow things like this to be swept under the rug anymore and certainly in this case, when there’s something that was a total secret from the Board… some members of the Board for a long time, we find it interesting and that makes us wanna go digging and find out more.”

The second article, released this past week, revealed that McMahon has spent more than $12 million in “hush money” to four women over the years, including a $7.5 million payout to a former WWE wrestler who was released in 2005 after her contract expired. Mann and Palazzolo noted that this payout amount was the most eye-catching information from their findings.

Mann said, “Joe, maybe I don’t wanna speak for you but, as we were reporting out what settlement agreements were existent, the fact that there was one for seven-and-a-half million dollars was fairly eye-popping. That’s a figure that, you know, in the murky world of NDAs, clearly suggests a big secret being kept and that was one of the red flags that seemed odd to us that we had to get to the bottom of what that was, what it was for.”

Palazzolo added, “Yeah, I totally agree with Ted. Finding out that there was that $7.5 million agreement was really surprising. I mean, it shocked us. [The details] are pretty horrifying frankly. To coerce a sex act to then basically drive someone out of the company because they refused further advances as this woman has alleged, that’s all pretty terrible behavior.”

They were also asked if there might be more information coming out in the near future.

Palazzolo responded, “Um… I think that yes. I think that it’s probably not done yet and we’re continuing to report, so yeah. Well I can just say we don’t know of another $7.5 million N.D.A. if that’s what — like so… No. No, no, no [Palozzolo responded when asked if similar allegations are going to be uncovered]. All I’m saying is you’re asking [is there] something bigger than a 7.5? No. That’s not something we have in our back pocket. We sort of have left it all out on the field in this story and there’s a couple of things that we — that we didn’t that we’re still reporting now but you know, it’s iterative.”

Mann said, “And sometimes it’s a case as happened in similar scandals elsewhere that there are people who have something to share who become a little more emboldened to talk about it once some of the first coverage has happened and you know, we’re still working to figure out if there are such people out there.”

When asked why last week’s report hasn’t received as much mainstream media attention as the first report did, they weren’t sure, but they noted how they heard a lot of, “look at the character [Vince] plays” and “this shouldn’t be a surprise” in response.

They also noted that this story “can’t be something [WWE’s various business partners] aren’t paying attention to. Anyone doing business with the company is paying attention.”

Mann and Palazzolo also confirmed that they have not spoken with McMahon.

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