UPDATE: Hulk Hogan has issued a statement apologizing for using "language that is offensive and inconsistent with my beliefs."
"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 apologize for having done it," the statement reads in part. "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."
As of Thursday night, Hulkamania is no longer running wild on WWE.com.
At some point over the past 12 hours, World Wrestling Entertainment began scrubbing almost all mentions of Hulk Hogan from its website: He's no longer listed as a member of the WWE Hall of Fame (despite being inducted a decade ago), his merchandise has been removed from the WWE Shop and a search for his official WWE Superstar bio returns only an ominous "You are not authorized to access this page."
Hogan has also been removed as a judge on Tough Enough, WWE's reality competition that began its sixth season last month, and all references to current wrestler Curtis Axel's "Axelmania" gimmick – an obvious homage to the Hulkster – have also disappeared from the site.
So why has WWE distanced itself from one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time? According to several reports, the move was made after the company learned of an interview featuring Hogan launching into a "racial tirade," with some pointing to an appearance the Hulkster made on DJ Whoo Kid's Whoolywood Shuffle radio program. During that interview, Hogan uses the n-word while recalling working with wrestler Booker T and paraphrasing conversations he's had with several rappers…but the audio in question dates back to October 2012, and Whoo Kid himself clams that there was "nothing racist" about the interview.
On Friday morning, the National Enquirer also released portions of a transcript submitted to the Florida court overseeing Hogan's $100 million defamation case against Gawker Media, in which he reportedly states "I am racist, to a point, fucking niggers," and discusses his daughter's relationship with a "black billionaire," adding "I mean, I’d rather if she was going to fuck some nigger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall nigger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player!"
Soon after that report, WWE released a statement confirming it had "terminated its contract" with Hogan, adding:
"WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide."
Meanwhile, Hogan has remained silent, outside of a cryptic tweet posted early Friday in which he talks about a storm, God, the universe and sailing.
In the storm I release control,God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be,one love. HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) July 24, 2015