World Wrestling Entertainment has cut ties with legendary wrestler Hulk Hogan, purportedly over his use of the N-word and other racially charged statements.
"WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan)," WWE said in a statement. "WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide."
There are conflicting reports about precisely which statements led the WWE to fire Hogan, including the wrestler using the N-word multiple times in reference to his daughter Brooke’s love life or going on a “racial tirade” against superstar The Rock.
Hogan on Friday released the following statement to People:
"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," Hogan said. "This is not who I am. I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise. I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs."
Pundit Marc Lamont Hill said he's read transcripts of Hogan slurring superstar the Rock:
I haven't gotten confirmed audio yet, but the transcripts that I've seen have Hogan calling The Rock the "N-word" and "sambo" among others.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) July 24, 2015
Hulk Hogan is the iconic wrestling figure of the 20th century, perhaps the biggest ever. For the WWE to disappear him is a BIG DEAL.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) July 24, 2015
“And Booker T says, ‘I’m coming for ya Hogan, you n*****.' And not ‘n****'; he goes ‘n*****,'” Hogan said.
Hogan went on to describe interactions with black celebrities who called him the N-word — uttering the term multiple times — and noting that black people using the N-word was apparently acceptable while his use of it was not.
"They're all calling me (N-word) ... and then I started saying it. And I always said it," Hogan said. "But now all of a sudden I get heat when I say it. And they say, 'Hogan, you can't say that.' And, 'Well, why can they say it to me then?'"
Hogan tweeted early Friday: "In the storm I release control, God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be, one love."
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
Hogan is no longer listed on the WWE website's Hall of Fame page and his listing under its "Superstars" is unaccessible. All Hogan-related merchandise has been removed from WWEShop.com, Wrestling News Source reported. In addition, he's no longer listed as a judge on the "Tough Enough" television show, WNS reported, citing WWEToughEnough.com.
Hogan's attorney also told People his client resigned from the WWE. The WWE on Friday didn't immediately respond to TheBlaze's request for additional information.
Hogan also is involved in a $100 million lawsuit with Gawker over its release of a 2008 sex tape featuring the wrestling icon.
Here's audio of Hogan's 2012 radio interview. The relevant portion begins just after the 2-minute mark. (Content warning: Multiple profanities and uses of the N-word):
This post has been updated to more accurately characterize Hogan’s apology.
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