Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon has announced his retirement.
Vince took to Twitter on Friday to announce the news, which arrives not-so-coincidentally at the same time he’s being investigated for allegedly paying hush money to a number of women to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct.
“At 77, time for me to retire,” he wrote. “Thank you, WWE Universe. Then. Now. Forever. Together. #WWE #thankful.”
In an official statement obtained by Variety, McMahon said, “As I approach 77 years old, I feel it’s time for me to retire as Chairman and CEO of WWE. Throughout the years, it’s been a privilege to help WWE bring you joy, inspire you, thrill you, surprise you, and always entertain you.”
The statement continued, “I would like to thank my family for mightily contributing to our success, and I would also like to thank all of our past and present Superstars and employees for their dedication and passion for our brand,” he continued. “Most importantly, I would like to thank our fans for allowing us into your homes every week and being your choice of entertainment. I hold the deepest appreciation and admiration for our generations of fans all over the world who have liked, currently like, and sometimes even love our form of Sports Entertainment.”
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that McMahon paid more than $12 million to four women in an attempt to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct. The four women—all of whom were associated with WWE—signed agreements that “prohibit them from discussing potential legal claims against or their relationships with the 76-year-old executive.”
The settlements reportedly included a 2018 payment of $7.5 million to a former WWE employee who claimed the exec “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.”
McMahon also allegedly paid $1 million in 2008 to a former WWE contractor who accused him of sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as sending unsolicited nude photos. Additionally McMahon is alleged to have paid another $1 million to former WWE manager who claimed he “initiated a sexual relationship with her.”
Back in June, McMahon stepped down from his role as chairman and CEO of WWE amid the investigation into his sexual misconduct. McMahon’s daughter Stephanie was then appointed interim CEO and chair of the board.
Whether McMahon’s retirement announced is related or not, there are rumors that Brock Lesnar, who was scheduled to appear on Smackdown tonight, has left the taping.