World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has terminated its contract with Hulk Hogan, after a tape emerged of him using racist slurs.
The shirt-ripping Hulkster debuted in 1977 and is one of the best-known names in wrestling.
He has, however, apologised, telling People: “It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it.”
The comments referred to came in audio transcripts seen by RadarOnline.com and The National Enquirer.
According to Wrestling News Source, “On WWE.com, Hogan is no longer listed on the WWE Hall of Fame page, and all of his merchandise has also been removed from WWEShop.com. The only thing currently remaining that mentions Hogan involves WWE’s upcoming Australian tour, which Hogan was scheduled to take part in as general manager. However, when any attempt to access this page is made, a message appears stating “you are not authorised to access this page.”
WWE did not link the termination to the tape, saying “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.”
However his lawyer said Hogan had resigned rather than being fired.
Hogan told People he was disappointed with himself: “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.”
According to RadarOnline and The National Enquirer, Hogan’s comments were made in an audio recording submitted as evidence in his legal battle with gossip site Gawker, who he is suing over the publication of a sex tape.
The star’s legal team filed a $100 million lawsuit against the site after its 2012 posting of video from a sex tape, made in 2008, featuring Hogan. The video was later removed from the site.
In transcripts seen by RadarOnline and The National Enquirer, Hogan allegedly tells Heather Clem – a friend’s wife with whom he was filmed having sex – “I guess we’re all a little racist” and uses the N word while referring to his daughter’s love life.
The 61-year-old has enjoyed huge popularity in his long career as a professional wrestler, with his rise helping the expansion of the industry.
In the glory days of “Hulkamania”, Hogan was a multiple winner of the WWE’s top titles, as well as serving a successful stint in rival WCW.
He returned to the WWE last year for the fourth time after more than six years away from the organisation.
Hulkamania was strong in Nigeria in the 80s and early 90s. Adoring children came up with the song ‘Hulk Hogan Show Me Your power”.