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July 24, 2015

WWE terminates Hulk Hogan’s contract after reported racist audio tape is leaked

Hulk Hogan has been fired from WWE after reports of a leaked audio tape of him using the “N-word” have surfaced. Hogan, currently in a lawsuit against Gawker Media because they published a sex tape of a woman and Hogan, apparently uses the “N-word” when talking about someone working with his daughter, Brooke. That audio is set to be played in court.

All mentions of Hogan from the WWE website have been removed, including the Hall of Fame page and all of his merchandise from is gone. The search function still lands on pages with articles, pictures and videos of Hogan, but it’s a matter of time before those are unavailable.

Hogan was also a judge on WWE’s new season of Tough Enough on the USA Network alongside Daniel Bryan and Paige. How they replace him is anyone’s guess.

Hogan released the following statement to PEOPLE magazine:

"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, David Houston, says that Hogan resigned from the company and was not let go. WWE released a statement saying Hogan was terminated:

“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.”

According to TMZ, WWE knew about Hogan using the “N-word” before the company re-signed him to a Legends deal.

Hogan is one of the most iconic figures in the history of professional wrestling. Along with the help of Vince McMahon’s marketing genius, Hogan became a household name after winning the then-WWF World Championship from the Iron Shiek at Madison Square Garden in January of 1984. The Hulkamania brand then took off.

Children and adults were enamored with Hogan’s size and strength, and ability to come across as a real life superhero in person and on television. Training, saying your prayers, taking your vitamins, and believing in yourself were the four pillar of the Hogan faith. Those have all likely been washed away.

It looks like the release is directly tied to the audio that’s about to be made public. WWE did the same kind of erasing from its history after Chris Benoit murdered his wife and son and then committed suicide back in 2007. After launching the WWE Network, they kept Benoit’s appearances on WCW and WWF/WWE shows unedited, but have continued to ignore his history.

Hogan’s sent out a cryptic Tweet a little after 1 a.m. Friday morning.