Early on Friday morning, news broke that Hulk Hogan and WWE were “no longer associated,” and that not only was his name and image being scrubbed from their website, he was also being removed as a judge on Tough Enough. Later in the day, The National Enquirer and Radar Online shared a transcript of the audio that got Hogan in hot water, from the sex tape that currently has him in a legal battle with Gawker. In the audio, Hogan says that he’s “racist, to a point,” and repeatedly refers to black people as “f*cking n*ggers.”
Hogan posted a cryptic tweet, but finally broke his silence to People in an apology posted midday Friday. In the apology, Hogan’s lawyer David Houston notes that Hogan resigned from WWE because he “didn’t want to put them or his family through this,” despite WWE’s earlier statement that they’d been the ones to terminate the contract.
Here’s Hogan’s apology:
“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,” Hogan said in a statement exclusively to PEOPLE. The transcript featuring that conversation was published online by the National Enquirer.
“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,” Hogan told PEOPLE. “I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs.”
Hogan describes this as an “important learning experience,” and hopes it will help him “improve as a person.” You can read the entire piece at People.com.