Friday, July 24, 2015

WWE Scrubs Hulk Hogan from Its History over Racist Rant

Hogan's in deep shit
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Go and check WWE dot com right now and look for any and all references to Hulk Hogan without using the search function. You'll more than likely find no references to the Hall of Famer and former WWF/E World Heavyweight Champion. The reason is because a racist rant from his sex tape with Heather Clem, the now ex-wife of radio personality and former TNA employee Bubba the Love Sponge, has leaked. Gawker Media apparently didn't release the entirety of the incriminating material on said tape when it initially leaked the video. Hogan had sued the media outlet over the leak, and the case was nearing an end. Now, this diatribe, where Hogan ADMITS he's racist, has surfaced. In response, WWE has terminated its contract with the former Champion.

WWE has every right to distance itself from Hogan right now, obviously. However, the fact that the company would come down this hard on something racially sensitive in nature seems laughable in light of its history. WWE's track record on race relations is dubious at the very best. Whether it be Vince McMahon openly using the n-word ON FUCKING CAMERA in front of Booker T and Sharmell or the continued employment of Michael PS Hayes after several incidents backstage where he was accused of racial impropriety, the front office of WWE has barely any authority to come down hard on someone for being racist. When corroborated with the history of racist character traits and story elements, it becomes incomprehensible that WWE takes the blanking route on Hogan.

When the company atmosphere is hostile to African-Americans, how can one expect the employees to categorically fall out of company line and act appropriately towards minority peers? WWE should not be scrubbing Hogan from its history; that action is tantamount sticking one's fingers in their ears and pretending nothing's wrong until the problem blows over. Sitting Hogan down, denying him paychecks from Tough Enough or WrestleMania XXXII, would be a start, but punitive measures cannot be the only ones taken in this situation.

WWE as a company needs to get its act together. Right now, it has perhaps the highest concentration of African-American wrestlers in its history. While their collective success is at a peak compared to prior era right now, the fact that they still mostly play "Black" characters and tend to be segregated in their own stables and even now are segregated in feuds exclusively against each other (New Day vs. Prime Time Players, anyone?) is embarrassing.

The attitudes need to change backstage, and they need to change on screen. WWE has to acknowledge its poor history and work on it, not just stick its head in the sand because the arguable top superstar in its history went full Michael Richards on everyone's asses. WWE absolutely needs to improve its treatment of Black wrestlers and give its Black fans something to latch onto that didn't remind them of the way White America stereotypically thinks about them, now more than ever.

As for Hogan, he most definitely needs to be raked over the coals. WWE's toxic atmosphere may be overbearing, but the conversation about Hogan needs to continue, and he needs to pay the piper for it. It's 2015. No reason exists why Black Americans shouldn't be on an equal plane except for refusal of the status quo to give them a share of the wealth and power, and yet, things are arguably only marginally better than they were before the Civil Rights Movement. Prominent Caucasians in America continuing to make racially insensitive or offensive comments are a huge reason why the climate has only glacially changed. That in and of itself needs to change, whether or not the Hulkster is a legend in pop culture or not.