Featured Image Credit: WWE
WWE's Vince McMahon addressed the crowd at Friday Night Smackdown in his first appearance since an investigation was launched into alleged misconduct.
The former WWE CEO and chairman stepped down from his position after he was accused of paying a departing female employee $3 million (£2.4m) to conceal an affair.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which obtained documents detailing the affair, a WWE board of directors launched a probe into the allegations against the 76-year-old billionaire in April of this year.
This week, the WWE released a statement confirming McMahon had 'voluntarily stepped back from his responsibilities' and is 'committed to cooperating with the review underway'.
Despite stepping down as CEO and chairman, he appeared in the ring on Friday (June 17) to speak to the crowd, although he didn't directly address the investigation.
Following his famous 'Billionaire Strut', he said: "It is a privilege as always to stand before you here tonight at the WWE Universe. Especially a privilege to stand here in this ring in Minnesota.
"I'm here simply to remind you of the four words we just saw in what we call the WWE signature. Those four words are 'Then', 'Now', 'Forever', and the most important word is 'Together'.
"Welcome to SmackDown!"
Although the comments have been disabled on the YouTube video, WWE shared the clip on Twitter where numerous people have criticised the pro wrestling firm's decision to allow McMahon onto the stage.
"Probably genuinely one of the strangest segments in WWE history," wrote one. "What was the purpose in that??"
Another said: "A responsible company that was taking the allegations seriously and properly investigating it wouldn't have allowed this. If he's cleared of wrongdoing, do it then. Not now."
"Crowd should not be cheering him," said a third, while a fourth added: "Y'all really just had him say the most basic s**t and leave."
New details continue to trickle about the allegations, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that the alleged multi-million dollar settlement prevented the female employee from discussing her relationship with the billionaire.
The settlement allegedly took place in January 2022 after the woman was initially hired as a paralegal in 2019.
Although she initially started at the company on a salary of £81,480 ($100,000), reports state that McMahon is said to have doubled this amount 'after beginning a sexual relationship with her'.
WWE said in a statement that the relationship between the pair was consensual, although the publication added that this may not be the only non-disclosure agreement orchestrated by McMahon.
The former CEO and chairman has been married to his wife Linda since 1966 and the couple share two children, Shane and Stephanie.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]