World Wrestling Entertainment has ended its more-than-three-decade–long relationship with Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, as the National Enquirer and Radar Online released the purported transcript of a secretly recorded racist rant Hogan is said to have made to a former sexual partner.
In the tape transcript, which Radar and the Enquirer say they confirmed with “five independent sources,” Hogan allegedly tells Heather Clem—the wife of his former friend Bubba “The Love Sponge” and a woman with whom he was secretly recorded having sex in 2008—that he doesn’t want his daughter Brooke sleeping with the son of a “black billionaire guy” who had offered to help fund her music career.*
“I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, fucking niggers,” Hogan said, according to the two publications’ sources. “But then when it comes to nice people and shit, and whatever.”
The transcript got worse from there.
“I mean, I’d rather if she was going to fuck some nigger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall nigger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player!” Hogan reportedly said. “I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking nigger.”
Wind of the imminent publication of the Hogan transcript got out early Friday morning when WWE scrubbed all mentions of Hogan, likely the most famous performer in professional wrestling history and an on-again-off-again member of the organization since 1979, from its website.
“WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan),” the company said in a statement. “WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.”
The tapes were reportedly revealed as part of Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker, which the former wrestler is suing for publishing his sex tape with Clem. The new audio recordings were “filed in a Florida court, under seal, in a bid to prevent them from being publicly released,” according to the report.
Hulk Hogan sent out a cryptic tweet before the bombshell report dropped and Gawker Media founder and CEO Nick Denton, who has said he is at risk of losing his company because of the lawsuit, was one of the thousands of people who retweeted or favorited the message.
Update, 11:45 a.m.: Hogan has acknowledged the veracity of the tapes and apologized for them 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.
“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 continued. “I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs.”
While WWE’s statement made it sound like Hogan was fired, his lawyer David Houston told People that “He decided to resign from WWE because he didn’t want to put them or his family through this.”
Correction, 11:45 a.m.: This post originally misstated that Hogan was secretly recorded having sex in 2012. The recording took place in 2008 and was publicized in 2012.