UPDATE 11:39 A.M.
Hogan has apologized in a 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,” Hogan said in a statement exclusively to PEOPLE. The transcript featuring that conversation was published online by the National Enquirer.
“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,” Hogan told PEOPLE. “I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs.”
Hogan’s lawyer, David Houston, also told People that Hogan resigned from WWE.
“He decided to resign from WWE because he didn’t want to put them or his family through this,” Houston said.
UPDATE 10:26 A.M.
According to a joint investigation by the National Enquirer and Radar Online, Hogan’s racist comments about the Rock and black wrestlers were captured on the sex tape that’s at the center of Hogan’s $100 million invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media:
The star of the WWE — whose real name is Terry Bollea — directed his vulgar and prejudiced hatred at his daughter Brooke, who he accused of sleeping with a black man.
Using language so hate-filled and vile it would shock even his most ardent fans, Hulk brazenly blustered to Heather Clem — the wife of his former pal Bubba “The Love Sponge,” with whom he was covertly filmed having sex with in 2012 — that he was an unabashed “racist.”
“I guess we’re all a little racist,” he crowed on the tape, multiple sources have confirmed exclusively to Radar and The ENQUIRER.
Hogan reportedly then continued with profanity-filled complaints — click on the above link to read them — about black people.
The Enquirer and Radar say they were provided the contents of the tape by five independent sources.
In October 2012, Gawker posted clips from the Hogan sex tape online. The former pro wrestler’s attorneys then sent the gossip site a cease-and-desist letter demanding the video be taken down, and a judge eventually ordered the site to do so. Hogan then filed a $100 million lawsuit against Gawker, alleging that his privacy had been invaded. The suit is ongoing, with the next hearing scheduled for October.
UPDATE 9:58 A.M.
WWE confirmed that it has terminated Hulk Hogan’s contract.
WWE has scrubbed most mentions of pro wrestling great Hulk Hogan from its Web site, for reasons that are not yet clear.
The only way to find Hogan’s name at WWE.com is to run a search on his name, which turns up links to old news stories and clips from past matches. But if you click on the links to the news stories, you get the following message:
Multiple sources are reporting that WWE has removed any and all mentions of Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan from not only their official website, but Hogan is also no longer listed as one of the judges on the Tough Enough television show according to WWEToughEnough.com.
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 authorized to access this page.”
Hogan cryptically tweeted about the situation early Friday morning.
Rumors abound that WWE dropped Hogan preemptively because audio of him going on a racial tirade is about to surface.
The Daily Beast reports that the WWE took preemptive action against Hogan after audio surfaced of a 2012 interview on SiriusXM radio in which he discusses his use of the n-word while talking with black wrestlers and other black celebrities. (NOTE: The link to the interview contains profanity.)
But the Daily Beast says WWE’s actions were because of something else. “Other sources, however, claim that the controversial audio that got Hogan scrubbed is in addition to the radio interview,” Marlow Stern writes. And, considering that the 2012 interview was broadcast over satellite radio and was not any kind of private recording, this would seem to be the case. That interview had been out there for three years.
CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill said early Friday that WWE indeed took action because of a separate audio recording that goes above and beyond what Hogan said in the 2012 interview. According to Hill, Hogan went on a racial tirade against wrestling superstar The Rock.
We’ll have more throughout the day.