The Death of Hulkamania: How WWE Mishandled the Terry Bollea Scandal | Smark Out Moment

The Death of Hulkamania: How WWE Mishandled the Terry Bollea Scandal

Posted by Donald Freeman Tuesday, July 28, 2015
By now we all know that Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan) has been fired from World Wrestling Entertainment due to inflammatory racist statements. To most fans, including myself, it was shocking. As an African American fan, I was even more shocked. The intensity of his language left me almost sick to my stomach. Then, I stopped and thought for a second. Why do I care so much?

WWE Hulk Hogan Scandal Vince McMahon

Let's be honest. We all know racism still exists in this world. It is a sad fact, but it's true. This means that many people, including celebrities, may harbor such hatred or intolerance. For some reason, many cannot seem to separate celebrities from their roles. Hulk Hogan is fictional. Terry Bollea plays the role of Hulk Hogan. We must separate the two. Hulk Hogan is not racist—Terry Bollea is. Those of you who disagree, must have not read what he said. Here is a snippet:

"I am a racist to a point, f***ing ni**ers."

Case closed.

Now, I understand this was said eight years ago and Bollea did not know he was being recorded. However, it doesn't make the statements any less damnable, and it sucks. This is not because I care about Terry Bollea, but because I care about Hulk Hogan and the sport that I love. The man who personifies professional wrestling for much of the world is now seemingly being erased from history. WWE not only fired Terry Bollea (which he deserved) but also has taken the character of Hulk Hogan's name off the website, kicked him off Tough Enough (of course), taken all of his merchandise from the WWE online store, and erased his character from the upcoming WWE 2K16 video game. But possibly worst of all, WWE has taken Hulk Hogan off the Hall of Fame website.

This is a problem. WWE cannot have its cake and eat it too. Hogan's name may be gone from, but you can still watch everything Hulk on the WWE Network. How can his name be taken off the Hall of Fame site, yet I can watch any of his groundbreaking matches which made him a legend on the network? Pretty much, WWE is saying a fan who wants to watch Hulk Hogan has to foot the bill for the network. It makes me think the reaction and intent of WWE is half-assed and strictly for face value.

After the leaking of Terry Bollea's statement, WWE releases a statement of their own saying:
WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.

What a crock of bull. The history of WWE is littered with racist, stereotypical caricatures of people. From savage Samoan to the shuckin' and jivin' black character, the redneck hick, Mexican thug, to the helpless/ seductress female, and American-hating foreigner, etc. You call that celebrating individual's from all backgrounds?

Since the scandal broke, people on social media have been posting the video of Vince McMahon saying the n-word on television. It is totally apt. The chairman of the company boastfully used the word (albeit the n-word with an "A"), without thinking twice how it may offend the employees, performers, and fans whose diversity they say they embrace.

Now, I do not want to get too deep into the racism that has been and is still in WWE. Remember, this is the sport I love and will defend against anyone who talks ill of it. But if WWE wants to truly embrace diversity and denounce Terry Bollea's actions, they should have addressed it directly and with an understanding of how it has treated its minority performers in the past and how it will make a concerted effort to truly showcase its talent in a manner that is respectable to the diversity of the WWE and its fans.

Moving forward, I wish all the best to Terry Bollea. I hope he can find peace and truly understands the error of his thoughts and actions. However, Hulk Hogan the character should not be vilified and his contributions to the sport of professional wrestling should not be forgotten. Furthermore, WWE should acknowledge its own shortcomings and make sure its storylines and characters do not reflect the very same sentiments that they so quickly detested.

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