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During an earlier court hearing in the case, attorneys sparred over confidential videos, one of which carried "offensive language issues." Bollea's lawyer contended that Gawker was trying to create a "sideshow" of a separate investigation and that the videos had been banned from trial. The parties are set to appear in court again next week.While his image online could be erased with a few keystrokes by the wrestling corporation on Friday, Bollea's visage in Tampa Bay is more permanent.I mean, I am a racist, to a point, f------ n------." In a statement later on Friday, Hogan apologized, saying there is no excuse for the "offensive language." "This is not who I am," Hogan said.'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."He's a wrestler, so I would say his opinion wouldn't really matter that much." But as a public figure, Morales added, "I would compare this to what happened with (Bill) Cosby." Others were more forgiving."When you're in the limelight, things like that happen," said Jarrod Bishop, a 43-year-old businessman from Fort Myers.
But on Friday, in an industry that's based on giving offense and hurling insults, a leak of a recorded conversation in which Hogan repeatedly uses the term "n-----" delivered a body blow that may inflict real pain.I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs." Despite the apology, his businesses empire — which includes a beach store and a restaurant in Tampa Bay — will surely suffer, said Steve Kirn, executive director of the Miller Retail Center at the University of Florida. It's unclear in Tampa Bay, where Bollea grew up and where his star has always seemed made of Teflon."If part of Hogan's brand is being outrageous and in your face and provocative and sort of angry, then this actually fits in and, for some people, it will probably reinforce the brand identification," Kirn said."I did not hear the comments, but I imagine they were taken out of context." The Enquirer did not release a copy of the audio recording, which it said was part of a sex tape involving Bollea and Heather Cole, the former wife of Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, Hogan's old best friend and Tampa Bay's pre-eminent radio shock jock.The Enquirer reported he was talking disapprovingly about his daughter, Brooke, dating a black man.
Kirn said it's possible that some outraged opponents "will call for a boycott or some other kind of sanction" of Hogan's businesses, though there was no sign of a widespread anti-Hogan campaign Friday.