World Wrestling Entertainment has terminated its contract with legendary wrestler Hulk Hogan. The organization released a statement on Friday morning: "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."
Late Thursday night, WWE removed virtually all references to Hogan from its website. The WWE has not yet given an official reason for the removal, although widespread speculation has centered on comments that Hogan may have made.
Hogan has been one of professional wrestling's marquee attractions since the 1980s, and recently reunited with the WWE following a six-year absence. Until the removal, his landing page (www.wwe.com/superstars/hulkhogan) looked like this:
The page now reads "You are not authorized to access this page." Links to Hogan's merchandise in the WWE store as well as links to news articles about Hogan now redirect to the same dead page. Hogan's image no longer appears in the WWE's "Hall of Fame" lineup.
Hogan himself offered up a cryptic tweet as the news was breaking across Twitter:
Hogan later released a statement to People magazine. "Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation," it read. "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."
The inciting event was apparently a conversation in which Hogan, discussing his daughter, repeatedly used the n-word in a derogatory manner. Hogan's attorney said Hogan resigned from the WWE, which would appear to be at odds with the organization's statement that his contract was terminated.
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