Hulk Hogan’s contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has been terminated, after a tape emerged of him using racist slurs.
The wrestler debuted in 1977 and is one of the best-known names in the industry.
Hulk Hogan has apologized, telling People: “It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it.”
The comments referred to came in audio transcripts seen by RadarOnline.com and The National Enquirer.
WWE did not link the termination to the tape, saying: “WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan).
However, Hulk Hogan’s lawyer said the wrestler had resigned rather than being fired.
Hulk Hogan told People he was disappointed with himself: “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.”
He had earlier tweeted this cryptic message.
According to RadarOnline and The National Enquirer, Hulk Hogan’s comments were made in an audio recording submitted as evidence in his legal battle with gossip site Gawker, who he is suing over the publication of a s** tape.
In transcripts seen by the two publications, Hulk Hogan allegedly tells Heather Clem – a friend’s wife – “I guess we’re all a little racist” and uses racist language while referring to his daughter’s love life.
The WWE has scrubbed references of Hulk Hogan from its website.
Hulk Hogan has enjoyed huge popularity in his long career as a professional wrestler, with his rise helping the expansion of the industry.
In the glory days of “Hulkamania”, Hulk Hogan was a multiple winner of the WWE’s top titles, as well as serving a successful stint in rival WCW.
Hulk Hogan returned to the WWE last year for the fourth time after more than six years away from the organization.