Feeling like you have had a rough go of it the past week? Well, things could be much, much worse. You could be Hulk Hogan.
Okay, so that might be an exaggeration, the man is still worth around $8 million (disclaimer: that figure came from a five second Google search). But on the 24th of July, the WWE terminated their contract with Hogan, real name Terry Bollea, due to the backlash over the leaked transcript of him on a racist tirade, with the organisation saying that they are “committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds”. They had already pulled every shred of the former wrestling sensation from their website. That means merchandise, his listing as a judge for Tough Enough, and even his entry in the WWE Hall of Fame. Mattel have stopped producing his action figures, and Toys’r’us, Walmart and Target have pulled his merchandise out of their stores. Bollea’s lawyer did, however, say he chose to resign, obviously.
His career is essentially over, and most people think that it was well deserved. If you’ve been living under a rock somewhere though, and you’re wondering what exactly it was that he said that caused such a furore, here are a few select excerpts from Gawker:
“I don’t know if Brooke was fucking the black guy’s son,” “I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, fucking n*ggers. But then when it comes to nice people and sh*t, and whatever.” “I mean, I’d rather if she was going to fuck some n*gger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n*gger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! “I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking n*gger.”
But the Hulkamania didn’t stop there, as the now outed racist wrestler got up to some old tricks and allowed himself to be the victim of some brilliant Fwitter trolling, as people pretending to offer messages of support poured in. However, the less than tech savvy 61 year old failed to realise that these pictures of loyal fans were actually pictures of celebrities, including Rio Ferdinand, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, and rapper Drake, which he retweeted, with one reading “this is me and my mate, we know you’re not racist! Ignore the press and haters we love you brother!!”.
The former wrestler then had the terrible idea to continue with his spree of retweeting, and retweeted comments which attracted even more controversy from a Twitter user who goes by the name Wolfshead Online: “Bi-racial President Obama uses N word, is applauded and keep his job. @HulkHogan uses N word, is vilified and loses his job.” Wolfshead Online’s Twitter bio also reads “citizen journalist, MMO and virtual world commentator, GamerGate supporter, Roman Catholic, conservative and supporter of traditional values”. So, I feel we can safely make the assertion that Hulk Hogan has well and truly lost at the internet.
But after losing both this cultural battle, Bollea has not been deterred, and is now determined to lose a legal battle as well. In what the New York Post has dubbed ‘the legal equivalent of a smackdown’, Hogan is seeking $100 million in damages in a lawsuit against Gawker, who he is accusing of releasing the transcript. Gawker responded by saying “Hulk Hogan has only one person to blame for what he said, and no one from Gawker had any role in leaking that information.”