UPDATE: World Wrestling Entertainment has fired Hulk Hogan—whose legal name is Terry Bollea—after an audiotape of the pro wresting icon making racist comments surfaced Friday.
"WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea [aka Hulk Hogan]," said the WWE in a statement. "WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide."
Several hours before, the pro wrestling organization's website removed all references to Hulk Hogan, the wrestler who came to fame in the 1980s.
At the center of the brouhaha is a joint investigation by Radar Online and The National Enquirer, which reported this morning that Hogan criticized black people in a profanity-laden rant while repeatedly using the N-word. Hogan characterized himself as an unabashed "racist," Radar Online stated. The comments were reportedly caught on the sex tape at the center of the wrestler's $100 million lawsuit against beleaguered news site Gawker.
Another audio clip made the rounds this morning, published by a YouTube user named "hardhitting Isaiah." In what sounds like a radio or podcast interview, Hogan talks about the N-word for well over a minute.
Speculation about the wrestler's fate at WWE began swirling in the wee hours of the morning on Twitter, and "Hulk Hogan" is currently the top organic trending topic on the microblogging site. Here's a tweet that Hogan himself posted around midnight:
In the storm I release control,God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be,one love. HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) July 24, 2015
Meanwhile, the development comes during a time when Hogan's lawyers are gearing up for the lawsuit against Gawker. According to The New York Daily News, the suit is centered on whether the site can publish a 2012 video of Hogan in a "romantic wrestling match" with Heather Clem, who is the estranged wife of his one-time pal Bubba Clem.