Hulk Hogan has apologized for making “unacceptable” racist comments after WWE terminated its contract with him following reports early Friday the wrestling star was recorded using racial slurs.
“WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea ,” the company said in a statement, using Hogan’s legal name. “WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.”
As of Friday morning, all mentions of Hogan had been removed from the WWE’s website. His biography page now redirects to an error page. Dave Meltzer, a reporter for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, said the WWE website was told around midnight to remove all references of Hogan.
Hogan has also been removed from WWE’s reality TV show Tough Enough and his merchandise has been pulled from the WWE store.
Hogan, speaking to People magazine, apologized for his “unacceptable” rant.
“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 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.”
Multiple reports suggest the termination is connected to the wrestler using a racial slur during a 2012 radio interview, however there are also reports of a second recording of the wrestler going on a “racial tirade,” according to Wrestling Inc.
Hogan is currently involved in a $100 million lawsuit against Gawker after the website posted his sex tape video. Gawker’s legal team argues that publication of the salacious footage is protected by the First Amendment, noting that Hogan is a public figure who had made his sexual exploits a matter of public record.
Michael “Mike” Jones, better known as ‘Virgil’ in the wrestling world, also took to twitter, defending Hogan and telling people not to take his words out of context.