Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley & The WWE’s Race Problem

Hulk Hogan hates Black people.  How do we all know this?  His comments were caught on tape.

And not just any tape.  His infamous sex tape.

A few years ago, Gawker broke the story that Hogan was secretly recorded having sex with Heather Clem, the then-wife of his then-friend radio jock Bubba The Love Sponge.  They even posted a brief snippet of the encounter with their report.  An infuriated Hogan filed lawsuits against both the website and Bubba, only the latter of which has been settled.

Ever since, Hogan has been trying to prevent the rest of the video from being shown publicly.  Now we know why.

The National Enquirer and Radar Online recently reported that in 2006, the WWE legend didn’t approve of his daughter Brooke dating a Black man.  Upon getting a head’s up about the coming scandal, the WWE immediately erased its most important star from its website and its imaginary Hall of Fame.  He will no longer appear on the reality competition series, Tough Enough.  You can’t buy any of his official merchandise any more.  He will likely not be doing any more live events or appearing on their weekly TV programs.  Who knows if this will extend to the WWE Network and any upcoming WWE home video releases.

I’ve been a fan of Hogan’s wrestling career for 30 years.  I saw him wrestle live numerous times in my local arena in the 80s.  I watched him bodyslam Andre The Giant in the main event of WrestleMania 3 live on closed circuit TV in that same arena.  I used to have a Hogan T-shirt, his early action figures, a black & white banner, the two Wrestling Albums and dozens of magazines with him on the cover.  I still have the official No Holds Barred magazine, a bookmark, some buttons and old stickers on one of my dressers.  I’ve seen many of his VHS and DVD releases.

But I can’t support him any longer.  I’m not a Hulkamaniac any more.  Hulk Hogan’s views of Black people disgust me.  They are repugnant and completely based on ignorance.  There is absolutely no justification for them whatsoever.  He doesn’t deserve any sympathy for his cruel views.  None.

Which brings me to his bogus apology.  Trying vainly to weasel his way out of this mess, Hogan released this public statement to People Magazine.  Rather than admit that he has a huge problem, he offers the old “this isn’t how I really feel” bullshit.  That did wonders for Michael Richards nine years ago, didn’t it?

Read those words in that tape transcript.  Those are his beliefs.  Make no mistake about it.  Thanks to Hogan Knows Best, the reality show he made with his dysfunctional family, we know firsthand how controlling he is of his daughter Brooke.  It became a running joke throughout the series.  She couldn’t even go on dates without him constantly spying on her.

But this is worse, much worse.  It’s deplorable and inexcusable.

Tell that to Mick Foley, one of a number of fellow wrestlers supporting him.  Instead of getting angry with Hogan on Twitter, he wrote this.

“I’m pulling for you, brother!”  What the fuck is that?

It doesn’t end there.  Foley tweeted this and a link to this.

Give me a fucking break.  Hulk Hogan didn’t make “a very bad mistake” that he deserves “forgiveness” for.  He’s a racist who deserves every criticism he receives.  I want nothing to do with him.

By the way, this isn’t the first time Foley has shown questionable judgment regarding racist public figures.

Around this time last year, Anthony Cumia, the then-half of notorious radio jocks Opie & Anthony, went on a despicable Twitter rant about supposedly being beaten up by a Black woman while taking photos in New York City.  (His story was never verified.)  Long a controversial figure known for making sexist and racist remarks in the guise of “comedy”, the incident ended his gig with Sirius XM and severed his partnership with longtime colleague Opie Hughes.

What was Mick Foley’s initial reaction to the news?  He thanked Anthony for all the times he appeared on the O&A show.

It was only after fans (including myself) complained about his lack of outrage that he even bothered to criticize Anthony’s now deleted rant on his official Facebook page in the first place.  Unfortunately, he also declared him a “comedic genious [sic]” in the same posting.

A year later, Foley hasn’t learned his lesson, so I’m done with him, too.

As for the WWE, no one should be throwing out hosannas for them, either.  Under longtime owner Vince McMahon Jr., the company has a terrible history with raceRolling Stone recently highlighted just 5 examples in a recent posting that you can still see on home video and on the WWE Network, not to mention YouTube.  The Wrestling Observer website has an ongoing retro recap series on the old Tuesday Night Titans talk show where they’ve often made note of how poorly Black wrestlers were treated by their White counterparts in the 80s.

And that’s just scratching the surface.  We could also talk about demeaning gimmicks (think The Boogeyman, The Godfather, Kamala The Ugandan Headhunter, Virgil, Papa Shango or Saba Simba (AKA Tony Atlas)), awful promos (Paul Orndorff calling Atlas a “souped up spider monkey” and “a big gorilla” on TNT), off-camera incidents (a drunken Michael Hayes saying he’s a better “nigger” than Henry after WrestleMania 24) and lack of Black world champions (The Rock, now just a part-timer, was the last one two & a half years ago and he only defended the WWE title twice on pay-per-view).  Furthermore, don’t get me started on the use of the Confederate Flag by the likes of “babyfaces” Dick Slater (during his thankfully short-lived Rebel gimmick) and The Fabulous Freebirds (which included Hayes as a member).

Even today, the WWE continues to think little of its Black talent.  Before they became heels, The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods) were packaged as inspirational preachers which the audience instantly rejected.  R-Truth, so effective as a jealous, paranoid, insecure villain in 2011, is back to doing his terrible babyface rapper gimmick.

Thankfully, there have been exceptions past and present.  Consider former World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry who, despite suffering indignity after indignity on and off-screen, was never better than as an angry, ambitious bully between 2011 and 2013.  Or former InterContinental Champion Shelton Benjamin, the incredibly agile daredevil who stole the show in the first four Money In The Bank ladder matches at WrestleMania 21, 22, 23 & 24 during his run in the company.  And we can’t forget old school grapplers like Bobo Brazil and Sweet Daddy Siki.

Yes, The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil and pioneering gay performer Darren Young) are the current tag team champions but are their characters memorable and special?  Catchphrases and silly dancing aside, not really, which is a shame because they’re good workers and work well as a team.  (They’re pals in real-life which helps the chemistry.)

So, let’s be clear.  The WWE is merely covering its ass here by firing Hogan.  (His lawyer says he quit but who’s buying that one?)  Its recent public statement to the contrary, it does not have a great track record on race.  (Women aren’t treated much better but that’s a whole different rant.)  Yes, it has a lot more talented Black performers on its main roster today.  But are any of them getting pushed like John Cena and Randy Orton?

Back to Hogan.  Does anyone truly believe this distancing act the WWE is doing right now will be permanent?  Please.  Despite being retired and into his early 60s, Hogan is still a bonafide moneymaker for professional wrestling generally and Vince McMahon Jr. specifically.  When the Gawker lawsuit is finally resolved either by settlement or dismissal (most likely the latter; he doesn’t have much of a case) (MARCH 19, 2016 UPDATE:  Apparently, the jury disagreed.  Will Gawker’s appeal be more successful?  We shall see.) and after Hogan’s despicable comments inevitably fade completely from the media’s headlines and the public consciousness, the WWE will come calling again and all will be forgiven.

Don’t believe me?  Consider the example of Dog The Bounty Hunter (AKA Duane Chapman).  During the 4th season of his own hit reality show on A&E, he left a voicemail message for his son which revealed he didn’t approve of interracial romances, either.  A&E temporarily pulled his show off the air.  Then, much to my surprise, it came back for four more seasons before it was cancelled for good in 2012, five years after that infamous voicemail was reported by, you guessed it, the National Enquirer.

But it wasn’t the end of Dog’s TV career.  Since 2013, he’s been starring with his wife in a new CMT show called Dog & Beth: On The Hunt.  (You can see it in Canada on OLN.)  It’s pretty much the same as the A&E program.  Back in 2009, Dog even wrote a book, his second, called Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given which apparently addresses his racist comments.

If a mullet-haired bigoted bounty hunter can continue to thrive with his professional life, Hulk Hogan has nothing to worry about.  (Neither does Michael Hayes who was only suspended for insulting Mark Henry.) (MARCH 19, 2016 UPDATE:  The Fabulous Freebirds will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania 32.) Expect the WWE to re-embrace him sooner than later.  And expect them to continue to deny it has a race problem.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, July 25, 2015
8:39 p.m.

Published in: on July 25, 2015 at 8:39 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Hulk Hogan’s disgusting racism was exposed.  Hulkamania is […]

  2. […] and the retirement of AJ Brooks, the former multiple-time world champion.  I was deeply angered by Hulk Hogan’s exposed racism and Mick Foley’s stunning lack of outrage over it.  (He was remarkably silent about Jimmy […]

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