He did not know best in this case. Hulk Hogan wants forgiveness, he tells Us Weekly, following his startling exit from WWE after several outlets reported the existence of audio of the wrestling pro making racist remarks on Friday, July 24.
"Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation," Hogan tells Us. "It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologize for having done it. 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. It is not who I am. I continue to work every day to improve as a person, and this matter is an important learning experience for me in that regard. As a result I am resigning from my contractual relationship with the WWE."
Hogan's lawyer David Houston also tells Us that they are currently investigating the leaked audio, and that the WWE alum stepped down from his position on his own. "Hulk has apologized to all of his fans," Houston tells Us. "And we can only ask for forgiveness and understanding at this point."
Alleged audio and video of Hogan supposedly using racial slurs in a 2012 sex tape have apparently been obtained by RadarOnline and the National Enquirer.
Houston adds that an investigation has been opened regarding the leaked audio, which is part of an ongoing trial centered on his sex tape with Heather Clem.
"We are investigating who leaked this audio and again, it is an especially suspicious circumstance realizing we are in a very contentious litigation with Gawker media," Houston adds to Us. "This tape surfaces through a transcript with National Enquirer at a time, when quite frankly some would say certain people would do anything. And as a consequence of this leak, we will do all possible to investigate who is responsible and who again, after three years has passed, is once again attempting to attack Mr. Bollea and successfully sell."
Prior to the shocking revelation, Hogan blasted a cryptic tweet yesterday, alluding to a pending "storm" that would soon be making its rounds. "In the storm I release control," Hogan tweeted. "God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be,one love. HH."
Meanwhile, WWE suddenly removed all traces of Hogan from its Superstars page, and the wrestling personality was no longer included as a Hall of Fame member or alumnus. Hogan's merchandise was also pulled, and his name was taken off the judges' list on WWE's reality show Tough Enough. The organization announced on Friday that it was severing all ties with Hogan.
"WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan)," the organization told Us Weekly in its statement. "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 Houston, his client was not fired by WWE: Hogan chose to step down on his own accord. "The end result is that Mr. Bollea resigned from the WWE last evening because he chose not to put the WWE through what Mr. Bollea now must go through," he tells Us of Hogan. "This is his mistake, no one else’s, and he accepts ownership."
Finally, Houston tells Us that Hogan did, in fact, make those racist remarks years ago, and there will be no backtracking.
"He does admit he made those comments and he accepts ownership," his lawyer adds. "This is something he dealt with three years ago and something he will deal with again. As we did then, we can only ask for the forgiveness and understanding of the general public and his fans. This is not acceptable behavior, and that is not something we would ever challenge. We only ask that people exhibit some understanding and realize that is not who he is and it’s certainly not something that defines him. Throughout his career he has been, and continues to be, a different person. These comments were made under very, very extreme circumstances and as he has done in his press release, he sincerely apologizes."