by Glenn Schouw
Durban - WWE billionaire Vince McMahon has been forced to face his demons.
Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal reported that McMahon allegedly had an affair with an employee — then agreed to pay her $3 million (about R47.629m) hush money when she signed a non-disclosure agreement in January. This led to his resignation as CEO and chairman of WWE.
An investigation has reportedly uncovered several older agreements related to misconduct claims that other female WWE employees brought against the 76-year-old McMahon and John Laurinaitis, WWE’s head of talent relations.
Now McMahon’s nightmare continues as WWE’s first female referee, Rita Chatterton, has claimed she was raped by McMahon in the 1980s.
The fresh claims led to Chatterton finding the courage to come forward four decades later.
A report in the New York Post on Monday published quotes from Chatterton.
“He promised me half-a-million dollars a year,” referring to the contract offer McMahon extended over the phone following her television debut with the then-WWF in January 1985.
McMahon called Chatterton to tell her he was “impressed” with her work and wanted her to go “full-time” but had a warning for her: “Keep yourself clean,” he said, according to Chatterton.
“I don’t wanna see you messing around with any of the wrestlers. You keep it professional.”
McMahon also told Chatterton she’d be on the cover of glossies like Women’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens and Time, so she quit her job as a delivery driver with Frito-Lay and began to pursue wrestling full-time.
But the relationship soured when the young ref tried to follow up – and McMahon allegedly raped her in July 1986.
“I’m sure others will come forward. Because we’re not the only two. There’s not a doubt in my mind about that,” Chatterton said.
“As far as wrestling goes, I guess I’m the first in a lot of things … As far as I know, I’m the first to come out with the whole issue of what a scumbag he is,” she said.
Her allegations were corroborated by former pro wrestler Leonard Inzitari.
During her interview with New York Magazine, Chatterton refused to go into specifics but Inzitari, a friend from the business, confirmed her story for the first time since the allegations were made.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” said Inzitari.
“She was a wreck. She was shaking. She was crying. I’ll tell you why I’m hopping on the bandwagon now,” he said. “There’s worse stuff than that.”
A week ago McMahon appeared on WWE SmackDown, and didn’t address the Wall Street Journal report that he allegedly had an affair with an employee.
McMahon’s theme music – “No chance in hell!” – hit at the beginning of the show, and he strutted down to the ring to a mix of cheers and boos.
“It is a privilege as always to stand here tonight with the WWE universe, especially in Minnesota,” McMahon told the audience.
He referenced the four words in the opening montage from the show – Then, Now, Forever and, most importantly, he said, Together.
“Welcome to Smackdown!” said McMahon and exited the ring.
His daughter Stephanie and her husband Triple H are currently running the WWE company.
This weekend fans of the WWE Universe will put all allegations against their fallen God aside and focus on another top event – the Money in the Bank premium live event at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, to be broadcast on Sunday 2am SA time on DStv.
Eight men and eight women will take part in Money in the Bank ladder matches at the event.
The matches end when one participant climbs a ladder and grabs the Money in the Bank briefcase, which contains a contract that grants the winner a title shot at any time of their choosing within the next year.
There are also multiple title matches set for the event, including Ronda Rousey defending the SmackDown women’s championship against Natalya in a match of two of the best submission experts in the women’s division.