Hulk Hogan admits he was wrong. He says his racial comments were the result of a deep-rooted "racial bias." Now, he's asking for the public's forgiveness.
"Oh my gosh. Please forgive me. Please forgive me," Hogan said in an interview with ABC News' Amy Robach that aired Monday on Good Morning America (h/t Natasha Singh, via Yahoo News). "I think if you look at the whole picture of who Hulk Hogan is, you can see over all the years that there's not a racist bone in my body."
WWE fired Hogan, 62, in July after he used racial slurs in a conversation with Heather Clem as part of a previously released sex tape. He can reportedly be heard on the video, which has not yet been released, calling his daughter's boyfriend racial epithets and admitting to being "a little racist."
In his interview with Robach, Hogan says the audio stemmed from anger at his daughter and a depression that left him suicidal at the time.
"I was completely broken and destroyed and said, 'What's the easiest way out of this?' I mean, I was lost," Hogan said.
As for why Hogan would choose to use those words regardless of his anger level—some will be dubious that a non-racist would use such hateful language so freely—he said his environment played some part. The former WWE champion was born in Augusta, Georgia, in the early 1950s and spent most of his upbringing in the low-income areas in Tampa.
"I'm not a racist, but I never should have said what I said. It was wrong. I'm embarrassed by it," Hogan said. "People need to realize that you inherit things from your environment. And where I grew up was South Tampa, Port Tampa, and it was a really rough neighborhood, very low income. And all my friends, we greeted each other saying that word."
Hogan has found swaths of support within the wrestling community. The Rock, Virgil and Kamala, all wrestlers of color, have publicly defended Hogan against accusations of being racist since his comments leaked. WWE, which removed Hogan from his post as a Tough Enough judge and all but erased his memory from its official site, has not indicated whether there is any chance at a reunion.
If everybody at their lowest point was judged on one thing they said and let's just say in high school, you may have said one bad thing and all of a sudden your whole career was wiped out today because of something you said 10 or 20 years ago, it'd be a sad world. People get better every day. People get better.
Hogan went on to say he hopes his mistake can be a learning experience for others. He's now looking to make a difference in raising awareness about the use of racial slurs, hoping it gets removed from the dictionary and is stopped being used in rap songs.
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