Just six months ago, Vince McMahon stepped down from his position as CEO and chairman of WWE following allegations of sexual misconduct. Now, even as two women are seeking legal compensation from McMahon for sexual abuse, the wrestling kingpin is plotting his return to his empire, according to a Wall Street Journal story published December 13.
According to the story, the former WWE chairman and principal owner has told several people in his orbit that he intends to return to WWE after stepping down due to pressure from his advisers. McMahon declined to comment for the WSJ story, but according to several of the paper’s sources, he told his inner circle he believes his allegations would have blown over had he stayed at the company, in which he still owns a majority stake.
WWE did not respond to IndieWire’s request for comment on this story.
The story further reports that two women, Rita Chatterton and an unidentified former spa manager, have contacted McMahon’s lawyer seeking legal damages. Chatterton, the first female referee in WWE history, accused McMahon in a 1992 appearance on The Geraldo Rivera Show of forcing her to perform oral sex, and her account was corroborated by former wrestler Leonard Inzitari. Chatterton, who has never pressed legal charges against McMahon, is currently asking for $11.75 million in damages from the former WWE CEO, according to a demand letter sent to his lawyers on November 3.
The former spa manager alleges that McMahon assaulted her in 2011 at a California resort, in an incident that has never been reported in the media. The WSJ story does not confirm whether she has asked for compensation or will file a suit, but does say that her lawyer has contacted McMahon’s about the incident.
In April, the WWE board began an internal investigation into a claim that McMahon paid $3 million in hush money to a former employee in order to cover up an affair, which revealed numerous financial deals McMahon made in order to suppress misconduct claims from women at the company. Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis also made similar deals, totaling over $12 million in payouts.
Laurinaitis was removed from the company in June, while McMahon stepped down and continued to oversee content development before announcing his retirement in July. Currently, WWE is led by McMahon’s daughter Stephanie McMahon and Nick Khan, who serve as co-chief executive officers.
McMahon has faced several sexual misconduct allegations throughout his career. In 2006, McMahon was accused of sexual harassment by a worker at a Florida tanning bar while McMahon was in the state for WWE’s Royal Rumble. McMahon denied the allegations, and an investigation resulted in no charges being filed against him.