New York City (CNNMoney) – Hulk Hogan states his history of using the n-word isn’t really evidence of racism. It’s a by-product of his childhood.
“I’m not a racist but I never ever must have said exactly what I said. It was wrong. I’m embarrassed by it,” the famous professional wrestler said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Early morning America” on Monday. “People have to recognize that you acquire things from your environment. And where I grew up was south Tampa, Port Tampa, and it was an actually rough neighborhood, really low income. And all my good friends, we welcomed each other saying that word.”
The slur, Hogan said, was “thrown around like it was nothing.”
“The environment I grew up in in south Tampa and all my white good friends, all my black good friends, to hear the word every day when they ‘d welcome me in the early morning, that’s exactly what they ‘d say to me, ‘Excellent early morning,’ so-and-so,” he included.
The National Enquirer reported last month on an audio recording where Hogan, whose actual name is Terry Bollea, said the n-word. World Wrestling Home entertainment responded quickly, shooting Hogan and booting him from its hall of fame.
Hogan, 62, stated he was surprised by the WWE’s actions and that the fallout over the debate made him suicidal.
“I was completely broken and ruined and stated, ‘What’s the simplest way out of this?’ I indicate, I was lost,” he told “Excellent Early morning America.”
The damning audio transcript emerged as Hogan is knotted in an impressive legal battle against Gawker Media. Hogan has actually filed a $100 million invasion of personal privacy claim against the business for publishing parts of a sex tape on its flagship chatter website, Gawker.com. Gawker competes the tape was relevant. The trial, which was originally scheduled to start in July, has been postponed up until next year.
Hogan’s legal group claimed last month that Gawker leaked the records that contained the slurs, something that Gawker rejected.
In a statement released Monday after the interview aired, Gawker Media said that Hogan “definitely has a lot to ask forgiveness for.”
“He’s lastly been exposed as the hypocrite he truly is,” the statement said.
A teary Hogan was plenty apologetic on Monday. At one point during the interview, he asked ABC’s Amy Robach for a moment to compose himself.
He begged his fans for forgiveness, and insisted that “there’s not a racist bone in my body.”
Hogan said he used the epithet to explain his daughter’s then-boyfriend due to the fact that he was “upset over a circumstance that happened.” His child, Brooke Bollea, “revealed me more love than anyone,” Hogan stated.
“She’s been so encouraging,” Hogan said of his child.