Professional wrestling’s greatest star, Hulk Hogan, has gone from body slamming Andre the Giant to falling to his knees and begging for forgiveness.
The superstar appeared Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and denied being a racist to ABC News’ Amy Robach.
“I’m not a racist but I never should have said what I said. It was wrong. I’m embarrassed by it,” said Hogan, referring to a sex tape shot on hidden camera without his knowledge in which he used the n-word.
“People need to realize that you inherit things from your environment,” said the wrestler, whose real name is Terry Bollea. “And where I grew up was south Tampa, Port Tampa, and it was a really rough neighborhood, very low income. And all my friends, we greeted each other saying that word.”
Hogan said he contemplated suicide at one point over the situation, which included him being fired from World Wrestling Entertainment and being removed from its Hall of Fame.
“I was completely broken and destroyed and said, ‘What’s the easiest way out of this?’ I mean, I was lost,” Hogan said.
“The environment I grew up in in south Tampa and all my white friends, all my black friends, to hear the word on a daily basis when they’d greet me in the morning, that’s what they’d say to me, ‘Good morning,’ so-and-so,” Hogan told Robach. “I think that was part of the culture and the environment I grew up in and I think that’s fair to say.”
He said that while he’s forgiven himself, he still begs his fans to forgive him.
“Oh, my gosh. Please forgive me. Please forgive me,” Hogan said. “I think if you look at the whole picture of who Hulk Hogan is, you can see over all the years that there’s not a racist bone in my body.”
Hogan became emotional when talking about the support from his daughter Brooke, who his attack caught on video was directed at.
“She’s been so supportive … she instantly said, ‘I don’t even need to forgive you ’cause I’m not mad at you,’” he said. “’I love you. You’re my dad.’”
He said it would be a “sad world” if everyone was judged by one mistake in their past.
“People get better,” he said.
Portions of the video were released first by celebrity tabloid website Gawker, which Hogan is currently suing for $100 million.
According to what Gawker told ABC News, however, Hogan’s comments were made on another tape entirely.
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