The WWE Friday said it has dropped veteran WWE wrestler/personality Terry Bollea – better known as Hulk Hogan – from its roster, allegedly over racially-tinged comments made during several radio interviews.
“The WWE has terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan),” the organization 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.”
While the WWE didn’t give a specific reason for dismissing Hogan – one of the most influential and celebrated WWE personalities ever -- several reports point to racially-charged comments Bollea made during radio interviews dating back to 2012. Other outlets report that Hogan nearly a decade ago used racial epithets revolving around an African-American man involved with his daugther Brooke that were revealed as part of a leaked sex tape at the center of the wrestler's lawsuit against Gawker.
Hogan said in a statement released to various outlets Friday: 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. 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. It is not who I am. I continue to work every day to improve as a person, and this matter is an important learning experience for me in that regard. As a result I am resigning from my contractual relationship with the WWE.”
The WWE also reportedly has removed Hogan from its social media materials, including its WWE.com website.
Most recently Hogan appeared as part of the WWE and USA Network’s reality show Tough Enough.