This week, Wall Street Journal reporters Joe Palazzolo and Ted Mann uncovered stories alleging that former WWE CEO, Vince McMahon, paid more than $12 million over the course of 16 years to keep several affairs and a case of alleged sexual misconduct out of the public eye.
Palazzolo and Mann discussed their journey in covering the UFC’s secrets, particularly how it all began.
It was only in April that WWE was investigating the $3 million agreement with Stephanie McMahon’s lawyer. One month later, Palazzolo began reporting on the story and confirming their sources.
“NDAs are generally associated with secrets; the fact that one was worth $7.5 million is a powerful indicator of what it actually is,” Mann said. “It’s a red flag that causes us to dig deeper into what it’s for.”
One thing that really shocked Palazzolo was finding out there was a $7.5 million agreement made about him coercing a sex act from someone who subsequently left the company as result of his advances. That’s some pretty terrible behavior from somebody that he believes to be one of the company’s founders.
“We learned of the agreement from a source last month. And then we continued to report it out,” Palazzolo said. In the meantime, there might’ve been a call list of 100 people that we might’ve bothered at this point – noting that McMahon was not specifically mentioned in the investigation.
Business Insider and Bloomberg News asked Palozzalo and Mann to provide a short explanation as to where their information was coming from.
Though they are hesitant to affirm this, they confirmed they had not been in contact with anyone involved in the alleged incident. They apologized for avoiding the topic due to the parent company being falsely mentioned as well as constantly being “wary”.
McMahon and her power sometimes lead to abuse. Another case in point would be the situation involving a woman McMahon had an NDA with at the beginning of their relationship. According to the anonymous emailers, they knew about this and wanted it to be public information. The first the board heard of this was when the emails started arriving. The anonymous emailer told them McMahon had taken advantage of someone else.