On June 15, the Wall Street Journal reported the WWE board was investigating a secret $3 million settlement that Vince McMahon reportedly agreed to pay to a departing employee with whom he allegedly had an affair.
On July 8, the Wall Street Journal followed up with a report stating McMahon "agreed to pay more than $12 million over the past 16 years to suppress allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity." The payouts reportedly went to four women who were previously associated with WWE. The women reportedly "signed agreements that prohibit them from discussing potential legal claims against or their relationships."
Chris Jericho worked in WWE from 1999 to 2018, and worked closely with McMahon at various during his run, as he held the World Championship and was involved in feuds with members of the McMahon family.
Speaking on the True Geordie podcast, in an interview that was seemingly recorded before the July 8 Wall Street Journal report was published, Jericho was asked about the allegations against McMahon.
"Not really," Jericho said when he was surprised at the allegations. "Is it a surprise in any industry when it happens? When you look at it, it's really not illegal. He had an affair, paid the lady off to not say anything, and moved on. It's almost like, 'Okay, and?' People want to jump on it but there is still always an undertone of 'it's wrestling. Oh, it's just wrestling,' If you look, that story came out with a bang, and then you really haven't heard anything about it since. If this was Hollywood, with Harvey Weinstein, that sort of thing...the difference between that is, he was holding women back for getting gigs, Harvey Weinstein. 'Either bang me or you don't get the starring role.' This has never been said in Vince's thing. It was a mutual acknowledgement of the affair, he paid the lady to say nothing, and she took the money. I really know Vince well and it sucks that happened, it sucks that he did it, but is anything really going to happen from it? I don't think so."
The July 8 Wall Street Journal report stated that one of the settlements reportedly included "a $7.5 million pact with a former wrestler who alleged that Mr. McMahon coerced her into giving him oral sex and then demoted her and, ultimately, declined to renew her contract in 2005 after she resisted further sexual encounters." The wrestler and her attorney reportedly approached Mr. McMahon in 2018 and negotiated the payment in return for her silence.
McMahon appeared on WWE television multiple times after the June 15 report was published, to which Jericho said, "That's Vince McMahon. I think it'll come and go. Is it morally right? Absolutely not. Is it illegal? No. Is it something that is going to get him into real trouble? I don't think so. Once again, unfortunately, 'Oh, it's just Vince McMahon, it's just wrestling, of course he's going to do that.' Those things come and go, they happen, it's too bad, but I really think it doesn't matter in the long run. Six months from now, I'll either be right or I'll be wrong."
Since the second WSJ report was published, Netflix has reportedly removed the Vince McMahon Docuseries from its slate.
As for Jericho, he will be in action against Eddie Kingston on the July 20 episode of AEW Dynamite in a Barbed Wire Death Match.
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