THE American professional wrestling legend known as Hulk Hogan has been dumped by World Wrestling Entertainment, the association said Friday.
News reports said this was because Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, uses a racial slur in a 2008 conversation that was taped and has just now come to light.
“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,” the association said.
It did not give a reason for its break with Hogan.
Hogan, who is 61 and known for his perpetual suntan and flamboyant bandana, is no longer viewable in the “Superstar” category on the WWE website’s video archive.
He is also no longer listed as a judge on the WWE-released reality show “Tough Enough”, and WWE has stopped selling Hulk Hogan merchandise.
US press reports say Hogan, in a sex tape made in 2008, part of which has surfaced online, uses the “N-word” in a conversation about his daughter’s dating a black man.
Hogan reacted Friday on Twitter, writing cryptically: “In the storm I release control, God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be, one love. HH”
Later he apologised in comments 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 apologise for having done it,” Hogan said.
Hogan, perhaps the biggest star in WWE’s five-decade history, was the main draw for the first WrestleMania in 1985 and was a fixture for years in its signature event, facing everyone from Andre The Giant and Randy Savage to The Rock and even company chairman Vince McMahon.
He won six WWE championships and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 by Sylvester Stallone.
But he was able to transcend his “Hulkamania” fan base to become a celebrity outside the wrestling world, appearing in numerous movies and television shows, including a reality show about his life on VH1, “Hogan Knows Best.”
Hogan is currently seeking $100 million from the website Gawker for posting part of the sex tape of him with Heather Cole, the ex-wife of Hogan’s one-time friend and radio show host Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.