Hall of Fame wrestler Hulk Hogan is out at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) after an audio recording featuring the wrestler using racist language was heard by WWE officials.
"I guess we're all a little racist," Hogan reportedly says on the tape, before repeating the n-word in an overtly racist and inflammatory fashion.
WWE told The National Enquirer in a statement:
WWE has 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.
The comments were discovered on the same sex tape over which Hogan is poised to go to trial with Gawker Media, which posted excerpts of the tape in 2012. The Enquirer reports that the conversation between Hogan and Heather Clem, wife of former friend and radio host Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, was recorded on the same tape, which remains sealed in a Florida court.
Hogan already has been removed from the WWE Hall of Fame page. His bio page reads "you are not authorized to access to this page," his merchandise has been taken off WWEshop.com and he's no longer listed as a judge for WWE's "Tough Enough" show.
Additionally, WWE wrestler Curtis Axel, whose Axelmania character -- a parody of Hogan -- had appeared on his WWE profile, has had his page edited back to a default image, the Mirror reports.
Various reports had speculated that the audio recording in question is actually a 2012 satellite radio interview in which Hogan liberally uses slurs and defends his own usage of them. That interview, however, has been public and online for nearly three years.
Hulk Hogan has not responded to any requests for comment. Early Friday morning, a he posted a single cryptic tweet.
UPDATE — Friday, 12:48 p.m.: Hogan has responded to his firing in statement provided 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.
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.
Hogan's lawyer has confirmed the wrestler's departure from WWE, reports People.
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