WWE slammed after 'racist' Hulk Hogan's return at Saudi show

WWE slammed after 'racist' Hulk Hogan's return at Saudi show
Fans and a former WWE Superstar have accused the sports entertainment brand's owners of racism after a 'surprise' appearance by a wrestler previously sacked over racist remarks.
2 min read
04 November, 2018
Hulk Hogan was booted out of WWE over racist remarks [Getty]

World Wrestling Entertainment's [WWE] controversial 'Crown Jewel' event in Saudi Arabia on Friday ran into trouble after the sports' giant decided to stage the return of wrestling legend Hulk Hogan - who has been accused of racism - at the Riyadh show.

Hogan, also known as the 'Hulkster,' was released from WWE and removed from the brand's Hall of Fame after recordings surfaced of the 65-year-old making racist remarks.

"I'm a racist to a point, y'know, f***ing n*****s, but then, when it comes to nice people..." Hogan said in the recording.

Hogan returned to the ring for Friday's WWE Crown Jewel championship, as wrestling fans took to social media to slam the decision.

In a tweet to former WWE Superstar Gail Kim, one fan said blamed the company's owners, the MacMahon family, for not caring about racism.

"It's because the McMahons don't really give a s**t about what Hogan did. They 5000 percent [care] about the McMahon porn spoof though," the fan said, referring to a spoof video that was crushed by legal action.

Kim responded to the tweet with stronger criticism, accusing the MacMahon family themselves of holding racist views.

"They're pretty racist anyway. They don't care if anyone is racist. Bc they have the same thoughts," Kim alleged of the wrestling family.

In a reply to another wrestling fan, she added that WWE's inclusion of wrestlers from various ethnicities made no difference to her point on racism.

WWE's Saudi tour was dogged by controversy following the murder of Saudi journlist Jamal Khashoggi last month, which prompted business leaders and heads of state and business to boycott a major investment conference in Riyadh.

According to Turkish officials, Khashoggi was killed, dismembered and had his remains dissolved in acid following an assassination order from high-ranking Saudi leaders.

The sports entertainment firm decided late last month to go ahead with the show, prompting some fans to accuse it of accepting "Saudi blood money".

Just days before the event, it was also announced that wrestler John Cena had withdrawn from the show. On the day of the event, Cena posted an ambiguous tweet about responsibility and accountability - perhaps in reference to WWE's decision to go ahead with the Riyadh show.

In an apparent move to limit criticism from fans, WWE commentators and performers noticably avoided mention of Saudi Arabia during the Crown Jewel show, instead choosing to refer to the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.