WWE breaks ties with Hulk Hogan amid racism controversy
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announced it is ending its relationship with wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, a statement reads.
A reason wasn't mentioned why the 6-time WWE champion Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, was released from his contract, or why nearly all mentions to his character were deleted from the company's website, though the company's statement hits at something racial.
"WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide," a statement read on Friday, July 24.
Hogan, who returned to WWE in 2014, is no longer listed on the WWE Hall of Fame page, and all of his merchandise has also been removed from the company’s online shopping site. He has also been removed as one of the 3 judges of the Tough Enough reality show, which he appeared on alongside performers Daniel Bryan and Paige.
The only related link currently remaining that references Hogan involves WWE's upcoming Australian tour, which the 12-time world champion was scheduled to take part in as the on-screen general manager.
However, when any attempt to access this page is made, a message appears stating "You are not authorized to access this page."
Numerous outlets, including FoxNews, have suggested that the abrupt termination is due to a 2012 radio interview with DJ Whoo Kid, where Hogan uses the "N word" in referencing a mistake wrestler Booker T made in saying that word in a televised promo while the two were with the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling.
Another report from RadarOnline quotes Hogan making repeated references to the N word in a more malicious tone in an unauthorized sex tape, which is at the center of a $100 million lawsuit filed by Hogan against Gawker, which released portions of the tape in 2012.
Hogan is quoted as discussing an unnamed black billionaire who was interested in bankrolling his daughter Brooke Hogan's music career, calling the person a "fucking n----r" and adding: "I guess we’re all a little racist."
Hogan seemed to confirm that this was the reason for his termination, telling People Magazine in a statement: "Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation. It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologize for having done it."
The man who told kids in the 80s to eat their vitamins and say their prayers said he would use this "important learning experience" to "improve as a person."
Hogan had worked with several black wrestlers during his time, tag-teaming with Junkyard Dog during the 80s and opposing Virgil and Zeus, among other. Hogan's match against The Rock, who is half black and Samoan, at WrestleMania 18 is considered one of the greatest matches in wrestling history.
WWE had similarly deleted all references to performer Chris Benoit in 2007 after he killed his wife and son before committing suicide in their Atlanta home.
Hogan wrote a cryptic message on Twitter about receiving the pink slip from WWE, but has yet to specify why he was terminated.
In the storm I release control,God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be,one love. HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) July 24, 2015
“In the storm I release control,God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be,one love,” tweeted the Hulkster.
Former WWE champion CM Punk seemed to be having fun with the situation on his Twitter account, making a reference to the Booker T incident.
"Booker told him he was coming for him. Well, he finally got 'em."