Entertainment

Hulk Hogan ‘very sorry’ after team member claims she was fired for being Black


Hulk Hogan is ‘very sorry’ about the situation, but his manager denies allegations of racism (Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Hulk Hogan has apologised for a ‘misunderstanding’ after an influencer working on a campaign for his new beer brand claimed they were sacked for being Black.

The WWE Hall of Famer, who was fired from the wrestling giant in 2015 after a recording of him using the N-word was leaked during a leaked sex tape lawsuit he filed against Gawker magazine, has responded after Essence Jenai accused him of dismissing her as a brand ambassador because of her race.

Asked about the allegations, Hogan’s manager Richard Paraiso told Metro.co.uk: ‘Is my client racist? The answer is No.

‘As a Black man, who can confirm better than me that Hulk Hogan is not racist? More than that, he respects the African-American community, you can trust me.

‘There must have been a misunderstanding with Essence Jenai, and Hulk is very sorry about that.’

The statement comes after Essence accused Hogan, 70, of discrimination in a video shared on TikTok, which showed her working as a brand ambassador for his new Real American Beer.

The retired wrestler has launched his own beer (Picture: JLN Photography/REX/Shutterstock)
Influencer Essence Jenai has accused Hogan of cancelling her contract after realising she was Black (Picture: TikTok/@essencejenai)

She claimed she was hired on a week-long contract to help promote the beverage, which included appearances at parties and other promotional events.

However, the influencer alleged that after just one day, she was fired after her first meeting with Hogan, as she implied she was hired through a booking agency.

‘@Hulk Hogan thanks for making it clear that you don’t work with BLACK brand ambassadors,’ she wrote alongside a video which featured the caption: ‘POV: Hulk Hogan paid you to be a brand ambassador and canceled your contract the next day because he realized you were a BLACK brand ambassador.’

In a second video, Essence shared screenshots of a text exchange allegedly showing her being told she was being let go as the events had been cancelled.

She claimed she was told the events has been cancelled, only to go ahead without Black women (Picture: TikTok/@essencejenai)

‘Essence. You didn’t do anything wrong at all in fact, I’m sure you did great,’ one message read. ‘But this client wants us to cancel the rest of the events this week. I’m really sorry!’

The influencer asked if they were ‘only taking her off of the events’, and was told: ‘All the rest of the events are canceled completely. (sic)’

She claimed that after checking social media, she discovered the promotional events had continued without her and another Black woman, with three non-Black women carrying on the work.

Hogan was reinstated by WWE in 2018 after apologising for his comments leaked in the 2015 trial, and last year he described the scandal as a ‘speed bump’.

Hogan is one of the most recognisable names in wrestling history (Picture: George Pimentel/WireImage)
Hogan hasn’t wrestled since 2012, and his most recent live WWE appearance came in January 2023 (Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Appearing on The MMA Hour, he told host Ariel Helwani: ‘There was a temporary situation with the surgeries and some of the racial stuff that went down. It was a speed bump, but that’s not who I was, and everybody knew that.’

Hogan admitted he did wonder about the impact his comments could have on his ‘legacy’.

He explained: ‘There was a temporary situation where I thought, “Okay, where’s this going to end up at? Where’s this gonna wind down? Where’s the legacy, where’s this, that.”

‘At the end of the day, there had been so much goodwill with the Hulk Hogan brand, and people knew me so well, I mean I’ve been around over 40 years.

Hogan previously apologised for using a slur in the a leaked audio (Picture: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock)

‘People know me so well, from Mike Tyson to Brutus Beefcake to Vince McMahon to Verne Gagne to Bret Hart, everybody knows me so well that they knew that I would come back and I would become the person that I was.’

At the time of the scandal nine years ago, Hogan apologised for using a slur in the audio.

‘Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation. It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologise for having done it,’ he said in a statement.

‘This is not who I am. I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise.’

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