In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Amy Robach on “Good Morning America,” an emotional Hulk Hogan talked about the circumstances surrounding his use of the n-word. He steadfastly denied being a racist and begged his fans for forgiveness. In addition to the scandal involving his use of the n-word in the past, the 62-year-old is embroiled in a legal battle with Gawker Media following the gossip website’s publication of a secretly recorded tape showing Hogan having sex. The National Enquirer reported on the audio from a different part of that tape, in which Hogan can be heard using the racial slur, according to the Enquirer.
The tape is believed to have been recorded between 2006 and 2007.
Hogan is suing Gawker Media for $100 million. Heather Dietrick, Gawker’s president and general counsel, has argued that publishing the tape was an issue of newsworthiness.
Born Terry Bollea, the man behind the once-indestructible “Hulkster” was wiped from the WWE’s Hall of Fame last month after his use of the racial slur was revealed.
Hogan told Robach that he had been “upset over a situation that happened” between his daughter, Brooke Bollea, and her boyfriend. That’s when he referred to his daughter’s then boyfriend using the n-word.
Hogan said he had “no idea” that he was being taped, explaining: “I was to the point where I wanted to kill myself, you know?”
He described how he sat in his bathroom by himself, his estranged wife and children gone.
“I was completely broken and destroyed and said, ‘What’s the easiest way out of this?’ I mean, I was lost,” he said.
Asked whether he was suicidal, Hogan replied, “Yes, I was.”
Then Robach asked: “Are you a racist?”
“I’m not a racist but I never should have said what I said. It was wrong. I’m embarrassed by it,” he said, but added: “People need to realize that you inherit things from your environment. 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.”
He added that the word was “just thrown around like it was nothing.”
Asked whether it was fair to say that he inherited a racial bias, Hogan agreed that he did.
“I would say that is very fair. The … 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,” he said. “I think that was part of the culture and the environment I grew up in and I think that’s fair to say.”
As for his fans who may feel let down by his actions, Hogan asked for forgiveness.
“Oh, my gosh. Please forgive me. Please forgive me,” he 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.”
He said he has forgiven himself, telling Robach that it wasn’t hard for him to do because he’s not a racist.
“I’m a nice guy. It’s not, you know, not the Hulk Hogan that rips a shirt off and bang, bang, bang, slams giants, you know? I’m Terry Bollea,” he said.
But the WWE -– formerly the WWF –- took drastic action. It fired the wrestling legend and removed his image and name from its website’s Hall of Fame.
Hogan was shocked.
“I’ve worked for the WWE for almost 30 years off and on … and then all of a sudden, everything I’ve done my whole career and my whole life was like it never happened,” he said.
He described the WWE’s actions as “devastating.”