Plenty has been said in the days since Hulk Hogan got canned by the WWE ahead of the racist comments that were leaked from his sex tape trial. We’ve seen what the alleged audio contains, read the apologies, heard some defense from Dennis Rodman and Brooke Hogan, and even pondered what the future held for the Hulkster. But there’s also been a bit of a brushback against the WWE.
The clip above has been back in circulation since the Hulk Hogan news broke, stemming from a skit on WWE television in 2005 that folks probably thought was pretty funny at the time. TMZ posted about and reportedly the WWE responded about the allegations that it was proof that racism is a rampant issue at the sports entertainment giant:
Hulk is outraged Vince is acting so self-righteous, condemning him for spontaneously using the epithet in private when the wrestling boss used it in a premeditated way, on TV and for profit.
Several pro wrestlers like Virgil and George Foreman have to come to the Hulk’s defense, as well as his daughter.
But a WWE rep says everyone recognizes the 2005 segment “was an outlandish and satirical skit involving fictional characters, similar to that of many scripted television shows and movies.”
Translation: If it’s okay for “The Wire” and “Django Unchained” … it’s okay for the WWE.
Now if you’re thinking this is knee jerk stupidity on behalf of mostly everyone involved, it is. But there is a noteworthy detail buried in here that many have pointed out over the past few days: there’s a lot of racist junk that’s been passed around in wrestling for many years.
Without even looking things up, we had Harlem Heat being led out in chains upon their debut in WCW, any number of Asian wrestlers being sanded down to Kung Fu stereotypes and weird penis chopping Yakuza, and plenty of blackface peppered in from time to time. There’s also a boatload of gimmicks and stories from behind the scenes that sorta give credence to the idea that this is bigger than Hulk Hogan.
My point is that WWE was trying to get in front of this, but it’s really something that is engrained in the DNA of the business from time to time. Luckily it would seem that the majority of these things are in the past, despite the little missteps where Sheamus steals Alberto Del Rio’s car and references burritos in a hurtful way. There’s also plenty of strong, positive superstars of multiple races that are finding success without being your typical stereotypes.
It’s a lot better.
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