Hulk Hogan is embroiled in fresh controversy after WWE decided to reinstate the former wrestler into their Hall of Fame, despite being kicked out after using racist language in 2012.
Hogan reportedly said in a sex tape that had been acquired by Gawker Media: "I guess we’re all a little racist," before repeatedly using the n-word in a manner that was deemed racist.
In a statement regarding the initial decision to remove him, WWE told the National Enquirer:
WWE has 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.
Hogan sued Gawker and was awarded $140 million in damages, claiming he suffered emotional distress after the website published the sex tape in which he featured. Gawker claimed it was newsworthy and "good journalism" to publish the tape, which featured him repeatedly saying the n-word.
As a result of the expensive lawsuit, Gawker was forced into bankruptcy.
However, in a complete turnaround, WWE reinstated Hogan, and in a statement regarding the decision, said:
This second chance follows Hogan’s public apologies and volunteering to work with young people, where he is helping them learn from his mistake.
These efforts led to a recent induction into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Game.
Some black wrestlers have been critical of WWE’s move.
In an extensive statement, Kofi Kingston said:
On a personal level, when someone makes racist and hateful comments about any race or group of people, especially to the degree that Hogan made about our people, we find it difficult to simply forget, regardless of house long ago it was.
Black wrestler Xavier Woods endorsed the statement.
WWE superstar Titus O’Neil, a Hall of Fame inductee at the University of Florida, added:
Individuals that show true remorse, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, fulfil their punishment, if applicable, and otherwise put forth sincere efforts to correct the issues.
Unfortunately, I must echo the sentiment and dissatisfaction expressed by many of my fellow contemporaries concerning Mr. Bollea’s (Hogan) apologist and its lack of true contrition, remorse and a desire to change.