Wrestler Hulk Hogan fired over race outburst caught on tape

On Friday, Terry Gene Bollea, also known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, was abruptly fired from World Wrestling Entertainment after recorded tapes from 2007 revealed him ranting about his sleeping daughter and using the word “N” liberally to embellish his point of view.

The Gawker gossip website found itself at the center of a storm when a libel case was brought against them for publishing a series of “outings” of gay individuals. The court-sealed tapes revealed Hogan’s diatribe, which was undeniably repugnant.

Now Hogan, who is now jobless, encounters additional challenges. He has recently characterized the episode – during which he uttered the phrase “I am biased, to some extent, f**king n****rs” – as “insulting” and “inappropriate”.

Bubba the Love Sponge, who legally altered his name to DJ Todd Allen Clem, is Hogan’s closest companion, and the website shared a video of Hogan engaged in intimate activity with the spouse of DJ Todd Allen Clem after Hogan filed a $100m defamation lawsuit against Gawker, with the recording from tapes being at the heart of the case.

Hogan felt uneasy, whereas Love Sponge appeared unaffected by this situation – he can be heard stating that Hulk and wife Heather can “do their own thing” and he will be in his office.

Gawker was sued and later settled for posting a part of Sponge Love’s online privacy invasion, which hinted at something more than just sex.

The case is scheduled to be heard in October, close to Hogan’s place of birth in Florida. Experts in law suggest that Gawker’s argument of “public interest” could be strengthened by the audio recording, verifying its presence and the significance of Hogan’s actions, granting them the authority to release the video.

Gawker’s lawyer, Hogan, has vowed to “bury” the case if it is found to be unfounded. While Gawker has denied that the leak behind Hogan’s racist rant was their doing, it is clear that Nick Denton, the proprietor of Gawker Media, is hoping to deflect attention from the company’s current problem. As a former journalist for the Financial Times, Denton is well aware of the potential consequences of this case.

Ten days ago, a story about a married executive involved with a gay prostitute was published on the site, which Sam Michael, the NFL star, and Cooper Anderson, the CNN news host, have now disowned. In response to objections from advertisers and readers, a lengthy mea culpa was issued, and the story was soon removed.

Denton, a man who is now happily married and no longer hiding in the closet, is seen differently. They say that Denton, who held powerful positions, has always believed that gay men in positions of power have an obligation to be open about their sexuality. He was once known as a member of the “gay mafia” in New York.

Advertisers are facing a crisis as online news sites are experiencing a surplus of content, forcing the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) down. This situation is particularly challenging for Gawker, a New York-based online media outlet known for its coverage of sexuality and celebrity. In response to inquiries about Gawker’s editorial policies, Denton, the founder of Gawker, crisply replied.

Denton informed employees that these types of controversies, such as the one mentioned or similar ones, can result in the company losing as much as $20m in annual revenue. This statement was made after two senior editors stepped down due to the removal of the “outing” story.

Media observers point out that internet sites, especially those trading in gossip and celebrity, will have to spend to install safeguards and protect themselves from drawn-out controversies in order to achieve growth and win ad revenue from traditional media.