Well, there is cetainly never a dull day in GamerGate or in the Hulk Hogan v. Gawker proceedings. Overnight, Hogan was scrubbed from WWE’s website, including from the Tough Enough section. In case you didn’t know, Tough Enough is a reality show that is currently airing on USA Network. Hogan is one of the judges. Something is definitely afoot here, and the rumor mill is swirling. First, let’s look at what Gawker chief Nick Denton said last week concerning the tapes ultimately handed over by the FBI:
But Denton, never one to miss an opportunity to trumpet a story, promised the case’s next phase will lead to its juiciest revelations.
“There will be a third act which we believe will center on the real story: the additional recordings held by the FBI, the information in them that is Hulk Hogan’s real secret, and irregularities in the recordings which indicate some sort of cover-up,” Denton wrote in a recent blog post.
“In the way of so many news stories, the deeper you go, the more interesting it gets.”
Here’s a story from last month about how Gawker got access to the tapes:
Gawker won its lawsuit against the F.B.I. on Wednesday when a federal judge in Florida ordered the bureau and the Executive Office of United States Attorneys to give the media company evidence related to an F.B.I. investigation into Hulk Hogan’s sex tape…
In late 2012, Gawker anonymously received a DVD of the sex tape, then edited the video into a roughly 100-second “highlights reel,” and published that along with a long commentary on sex tapes. Hogan subsequently sued Gawker in civil court for invasion of privacy.
At roughly the same time, according to court documents, a Los Angeles lawyer had obtained the sex tape and was trying to sell it. Hogan’s lawyer David Houston contacted the F.B.I., which launched a criminal investigation into the creation and attempted sale of the video. The U.S. Attorney’s Office ultimately declined to prosecute anyone, but the F.B.I. dug up a great deal of evidence related to Hogan’s sex tape in the course of that investigation.
In November 2013, Gawker filed a FOIA request with the F.B.I. for this evidence, hoping to use it as part of its defense against Hogan’s lawsuit…
The F.B.I. denied the request, on the grounds that releasing it would infringe on Hogan and Heather Clem’s privacy. So Gawker asked Hogan and Clem to sign authorizations waiving their privacy rights. They refused. Gawker argued that it needed the F.B.I.’s evidence as part of its legal defense and asked the court to force Hogan and Clem to waive their rights to privacy. Judge Pamela Campbell, who is presiding over Hogan’s case against Gawker, ordered that Hogan and Clem sign the privacy waivers.
Now armed with the privacy waivers, Gawker went back to the F.B.I. in November 2014 and filed another FOIA request for the evidence. This FOIA request was more detailed than the first and asked for both documents and video footage. According to the request, Gawker and Hogan had agreed that while documents could be released directly to Gawker, any video footage related to the investigation must be placed in a sealed envelope and given to a special magistrate who was overseeing the discovery phase of Hogan’s suit against Gawker.
In January 2015, the F.B.I. replied and said that it found 1,168 documents and two CDs of video material that were potentially responsive to the records request, but that it would not be releasing them since they were related to an ongoing investigation and therefore exempt from FOIA. Gawker also FOIA’d the the U.S. Attorney’s Office (“EOUSA”), which ignored its request.
Gawker appealed the F.B.I.’s decision not to release the evidence, arguing that the investigation had already closed. As part of its appeal, Gawker cited correspondence between the F.B.I. and Hogan’s lawyer Houston about the end of the investigation. On Tuesday, the New York Observer published part of this correspondence—a 2013 letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to Houston detailing some of the evidence the F.B.I. had found during the course of the investigation. The government denied Gawker’s appeal, so Gawker sued both the F.B.I. and the EOUSA in federal court to force them to release the documents.
That is the case that the media company won on Wednesday, when Judge Susan Bucklew of Florida’s Middle District ordered that the F.B.I. and the EOUSA turn over to Gawker all of the documents (and give the two CDs to the special magistrate) by Friday…
There’s a tape circulating this morning where Hogan does use the “n-word,” but it is quite mild. He’s discussing a famous flub by WWE Hall of Famer Booker T, and makes jokes about rappers Lil’ Wayne and The Game calling him by the word. It’s all VERY mild, and I have a very hard time believing this is why WWE has apparently cut ties. For one reason, this tape has been public for years. That didn’t stop The Daily Beast from running with this angle. Here’e the video. You can judge for yourselves:
They do note a couple interesting points, though:
Other sources, however, claim that the controversial racist audio that got Hogan scrubbed is in addition to the radio interview, and comes from a legal deposition in the ongoing Gawker case. The WWE has not yet responded to requests for comment, and has yet to officially confirm the reason for erasing Hogan from their websites.
Of course, it would be a bit hypocritical for the WWE to be offended by Hulk Hogan’s boneheaded comments when you consider that its CEO, Vince McMahon, once called wrestler John Cena the N-word right in front of Booker T, who then turned to his girlfriend and said, “Tell me he did not just say that.”
It has to be bad. Personally, I don’t care. I’ll support Hogan until the bitter end, cause that’s how big of a mark I am for the guy. To me it’s not what he said, but the lengths that Gawker will go to shred this man’s life. If I had to bet, I would say they leaked this shit to an outlet like The National Enquirer, which is one of the major rumors going on at this point. We all should have known that Nick Denton was never gonna go down without using every last tool in his slimebox.
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
UPDATE: CNN commentator with more, seems to be in line with my thoughts as well, if true…
The Hulk Hogan "racist" audio, based on what I've heard, is NOT the interview where he discusses his use of the N-word.
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) July 24, 2015
UPDATE II: The leak has hit, and it’s not pretty…
Hulk Hogan has been captured on tape spewing foul-mouthed racial slurs – including the N-word.
In a shocking world exclusive, The National ENQUIRER and RadarOnline.com – in a joint investigation – has learned that sordid pillow talk caught on an unauthorized sex tape includes a revolting conversation in which the pro wrestling icon unleashed a filthy bigoted attack, littered with the N-word and other disgusting racial insults.
The star of the WWE – whose real name is Terry Bollea – directed his vulgar and prejudiced hatred at his daughter Brooke, who he accused of sleeping with a black man.
Using language so hate-filled and vile it would shock even his most ardent fans, Hulk brazenly blustered to Heather Clem – the wife of his former pal Bubba “The Love Sponge,” with whom he was covertly filmed having sex with in 2012 – that he was an unabashed “racist.”
“I guess we’re all a little racist,” he crowed on the tape, multiple sources have confirmed exclusively to The ENQUIRER.
Despite his TV image as a born-again Christian, the tapes prove that Hulk is a very different man off camera!
In a startling exchange, the 61-year-old told Clem – who he sued for invasion of privacy after their XXX tape was leaked to a website – about his frustrations with blonde bombshell Brooke, 27.
“She is making some real bad decisions now,” Hulk said, sources tell us. “My daughter Brooke jumped sides on me. I spent $2-3 million on her music career, I’ve done everything like a jackass for her.”
The bitter bodybuilder continued, “The one option Brooke had, Brooke’s career besides me, is [to] sell beach records.”
At that point on the tape, the former “Hogan Knows Best” star bemoaned how a “black billionaire guy” had offered to fund her music career.
He also attempts to use bizarre, twisted logic in an attempt to justify his bigotry at the man.
“I don’t know if Brooke was f*cking the black guy’s son,” Hulk raved, the sources add.
“I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am a racist, to a point, f*cking n*ggers. But then when it comes to nice people and sh*t, and whatever.”
Then, in a tirade to rival the racism embarrassments suffered by Mel Gibson and “Dog The Bounty Hunter,” Hulk unloaded even more hatred!
According to sources, he said: “I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f*ck some n*gger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n*gger worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player!
“I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking n*gger.”
Radar and The ENQUIRER has learned explosive transcripts of the loathsome conversation have been filed in a Florida court, under seal, in a bid to prevent them from being publicly released.
MORE: WWE have officially cut ties…
— Ethan Ralph (@TheRalphRetort) July 24, 2015
UPDATE II: Hogan has responded to People Magazine…
“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,” Hogan said in a statement exclusively to PEOPLE. The transcript featuring that conversation was published online by the National Enquirer.
“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,” Hogan told PEOPLE. “I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs.”
Gawker also joins the pile on. Shocking, I know.