The Rock Says He Is 'Disappointed' In Hulk Hogan
The Rock has said he is “disappointed” in Hulk Hogan.
WWE’s biggest ever crossover mainstream star, who faced Hogan in a memorable show-stealing match at Wrestlemania 18 in 2002 and opened Wrestlemania XXX in an all-star segment alongside the wrestling icon and Steve Austin last year - told journalists via satellite at a Television Critics Association event he had “not known” Hogan to be racially prejudiced.
Last week, Hogan – real name Terry Bollea – was fired by WWE as it emerged the 61-year-old had been caught making racial slurs on unreleased footage from his sex tape.
Rock – real name Dwayne Johnson - explained: "I was pretty disappointed with what I heard, like all of us, by the way. I was disappointed in him.
“I have known Terry for a lot of years. My dad helped trained him in Florida in the '70s when he was breaking into the business. I come from a very long lineage of professional wrestlers.”
The 43-year-old continued: "I had not known the man to be racist. It's funny, it's one of those things where, and not justifying what he said, but we've all talked trash, especially in private. He said what he said and he's paying the price."
In a statement given to PEOPLE magazine, Hogan apologised for his words, insisting: "This is not who I am."
"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 apologize for having done it,” he said.
"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.
"I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs."
Further racially-charged remarks from Hogan have been claimed over the last few days in the US by Radar Online and the National Enquirer.