Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson ‘pretty disappointed,’ but defends Hulk Hogan
A “pretty disappointed” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson nevertheless went to bat for pal and professional wrestling colleague Hulk Hogan, defending him to a certain extent by arguing that everyone has “talked trash” behind closed doors.
Johnson was making an appearance on Thursday at the 2015 TCA press tour panel to promote his new HBO series “Ballers” when he made comments in which he expresses skepticism that Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, is actually a racist or bigot.
“I was pretty disappointed with what I heard, like all of us, by the way. Pretty disappointed,” Johnson told the crowd, per an US Magazine report. “I’ve known Terry for a lot of years, my dad helped train him in Florida in the ’70s when he was breaking into the business … My uncles helped train him too as well. I have not known the man to be racist.”
Johnson later made the argument that everyone says things they perhaps should not say when it’s believed the comments are being made under the assumed impression of perceived privacy.
“It’s funny, it’s one of those things where — and [I’m] not justifying what he said — we’ve all talked trash, especially in private,” he said. “He said what he said, and he’s paying the price.”
Hogan, mired in a bitter $100 million lawsuit over a sex tape, allegedly was caught on audio using racist slurs, a transcript of which scandalized the wrestler’s reputation to such an egregious degree that it resulted in the ending of his affiliation with the WWE. Evidence later surfaced of the wrestler also using homophobic slurs as well. He has since issued a formal apology.
“Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation,” he told People. “It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologize for having done it.
“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.”