It seems that Hulk Hogan just can’t get enough of making the news.
But this time, Brother, the news isn’t good.
The 59-year-old, self-proclaimed “Real American Hero” is the subject of a sex tape that’s been circulating on the Web.
And the Hulkster is flaming mad.
Hogan has sued his former best friend, Tampa radio shock jock Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem, the DJ’s estranged wife, Heather Cole, and Gawker Media after excerpts of the steamy video involving Hogan and Cole were posted online.
Just another long triangle gone wrong?
Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, admitted to getting Clem’s blessing to take his longtime pal’s then-wife to bed six years ago when the Hulkster’s own marriage was on the rocks. He says he regretted what happened, though, claiming the revelation “rattled” current wife Jennifer McDaniels, whom he married in late 2010.
Hogan now says Clem conspired with his ex-wife to secretly tape him. The disc jockey is heard off-camera giving his blessing to the deed about to commence: “You guys do your thing. I’ll be in the office if you need me.”
In the video, Clem is seen entering the room after Hogan leaves. “If we ever did want to retire, all we’d have to do is use this footage,” he says to Cole.
Hogan, who was the best man at the Clemses’ wedding and is a godfather to his friend’s child, also alleges that Clem leaked footage of the naked romp that hit the Web earlier this month.
In the lawsuit, Hogan states he “had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his consensual, intimate activities in a private bedroom and reasonably believed that his privacy was safe and protected.” His attorney adds that Bubba and Heather Clem’s actions were “illegal, outrageous and exceeded the bounds of human decency.”
“God please help this other man,” Hogan said on Twitter, apparently in reference to the perpetrator.
But, argues the Love Sponge, there’s more than one side to every sex tape.
Clem adamantly denies having any involvement in the taping or distribution of the X-rated tape between his best friend and his wife, which was recorded at his Florida home as he sat in his office.
According to Clem, Hogan was in on the stunt from the very beginning, and says he “brainwashed” Clem into giving his blessing for then-wife Heather to cavort with the Hulkster.
“There were three people in that home. All three knew what time it was. They knew what was going on,” said Clem.
The radio host says his ex-best friend, who lived in his home for three months, was aware he could have been taped during the bedroom session. There were cameras in the house as a result of a custody dispute involving Clem’s son.
“You know I have surveillance. You knew of everything going on,” said Clem, who claims he’s never even seen the tape of his former wife having sex with Hogan in his canopy bed six years ago and has no idea how the racy recording ended up on Gawker.com earlier this month.
Clem called out Hogan on his radio show last week and branded the mat icon a “hypocritical fraud” for playing a victim when the real victim, he said, was Heather Cole. “Hogan is, I don’t know, victim No. 3 at best,” he added.
According to a TMZ report, however, Hogan isn’t the only man to have had a taped sexual encounter with Clem’s ex-wife. The website claims that it has seen at least three additional sex tapes featuring Cole with other men while she was married to Clem. In one tape she reportedly walks up to the camera to double-check that it’s recording.
“Is this thing recording?” she asked an unidentified man in one of the videos. “OK, not that I don’t trust you, but I will get in trouble if it doesn’t.”
TMZ says all the tapes were filmed in the exact same style as the Hogan tape — in Bubba’s bedroom with an overhead surveillance-type camera.
Clem also refuted Hogan’s allegation that he was set up.
“Nobody held a gun to your head, Hogan, and told you to come to me and ask me to have sex with my wife,” said Clem.
Clem’s lawyer told the New York Daily News last week that Clem also is a victim, and that he would never have done anything to hurt the iconic wrestler. “They’re best friends for a lifetime. Bubba would literally take a bullet for the guy.”
The nationally syndicated DJ says he no longer considers Hogan his friend.
“I was dumb and stupid, allowing him to manipulate me,” he said.
Hogan’s camp, though, isn’t buying any of it.
“Anyone thinking Hulk is hiding in the weeds to pump up the value of this recording is sorely mistaken. He’s not going to buckle and give in and sign a ridiculous contract to distribute this trash. That’s not going to happen,” Hogan’s lawyer David Houston told the New York Daily News.
Of course, any Hogan controversy wouldn’t be complete without mention of the former Linda Hogan (Bollea), his former wife of 23 years.
Hogan, essentially blaming his ex-wife for the sexual encounter, said Linda practically pushed him to have sex with his friend’s wife, and abused him verbally and emotionally.
The statement drew an immediate response from Linda’s Hogan’s attorney.
“It is a shame that Hulk Hogan tries to deflect his immorality with false allegations that Linda verbally and emotionally abused him. Linda Hogan never abused Hulk Hogan — verbally, mentally or otherwise,” said Raymond Rafool.
Clem went on the offensive last week when he appeared on fellow radio personality Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show. He denied circulating the tape to co-workers at the satellite radio station he formerly worked for. He also said Hogan should have known there was a possibility of being recorded in his home.
But he didn’t deny saying on the 6-year-old video that he and his ex-wife could retire if they ever released footage of the 30-minute tape.
Hogan filed a civil lawsuit against Clem and his ex-wife in connection with the release of the tape. Hogan claimed the compromising video caused “severe and irreparable injury which cannot be adequately compensated by monetary damages.”
He filed an additional $100 million civil lawsuit against Gawker Media for posting excerpts of the tape on its website.
Hogan is seeking the rights to the illicit video in both lawsuits.
Stern vowed to convince Hogan to drop the suit against his fellow shock jock.
“I will get Hogan and Bubba together,” Stern said on his show. “I think what Bubba is saying is making a lot of sense. I think if Hogan could hear it and I can translate a little bit and calm everyone down, I think we could see through this. I think I can get Hulk Hogan to take you out of this lawsuit.”
Hogan’s lawyer said Wednesday, however, that the case was moving forward.
“This is not the Bubba Show, it’s litigation. Thanks to Bubba for making our case against him better,” Houston told the Daily News. “We look forward to seeing him in court. At that time it will not be a runaway rant. His time is coming.”
Cameron Stracher, a lawyer for the gossip website Gawker.com, which released portions of the tape, told Reuters.com that he believes the suit is meritless and will ask a judge to throw out the suit.
“He’s having sex with another man’s wife in another man’s home,” Stracher said. “I’m not sure it’s reasonable to say he has an expectation of privacy under the circumstances.”
Could there be even more racy recordings involving the Hulkster?
Clem intimated as much during his conversation with Stern.
“Probaby there are a few other tapes that make him even look worse than he already does,” Clem told Stern.
“He said there might possibly be one or two because this sex happened at least one other time with your ex-wife,” Stern said, referring to an earlier interview with Hogan.
Bubba the Love Sponge, who legally changed his name to that moniker, is no stranger to controversy. The businessman worked his way to a seven-figure salary, making his living toying with strippers and porn stars on his radio show, while being fined numerous times for violating broadcast decency standards.
His reputation for on-air debauchery has been well documented. He was sacked by Clear Channel Radio in 2004 after he received FCC violations for several raunchy segments on his show.
He went on trial in early 2000 on animal cruelty charges for castrating a pig live on air, with many calling the act a huge publicity stunt. He was acquitted.
The Love Sponge, meanwhile, had some parting shots for his former friend.
“He’s a one-way piece of crap who doesn’t care about anyone but himself. You’re the ultimate, lying showman.”
Mike Graham dead at 61
The pro wrestling community is mourning the loss of longtime Florida wrestling star Mike Graham (Gossett).
Graham, 61, son of legendary Florida promoter and wrestler Eddie Graham (Gossett), was found dead early Friday morning by his wife. Sources reported that Graham died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The two were visiting Daytona Beach for Biketoberfest.
Graham’s father also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 55 in 1985. His son passed away under similar circumstances two years ago.
“I loved Mike to death,” said 16-time world heavyweight champion Ric Flair. “I probably wrestled Mike 500 times during the ‘80s. What a great guy.”
Flair said he last saw Graham earlier this year at Wrestlemania in Miami Beach.
“I must have spent 10 hours with him. He seemed so happy at Wrestlemania. I was with him all weekend along with Jerry Brisco. This is so sad.”
Graham was an extremely talented worker inside the ring, but his undersized stature didn’t match the NWA champion prototype.
“Mike Graham was one of the classiest guys I’ve ever known in my life,” said Flair. “He was a phenomenal performer that never got the recognition he deserved because he was considered too small to be a championship contender. He was the last member of one of the greatest legacies in the history of wrestling — The Grahams.”
Flair also paid homage to the senior Graham.
“His dad was the best finish guy in the business. Everybody wanted to know Eddie Graham. He trained Bill Watts, Vince (McMahon) Sr. ... they all loved Eddie Graham. I have so much respect for a legacy that will never be duplicated.”
Mike Graham, the 1972 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Rookie of the Year, was a two-time AWA world light heavyweight champion and holder of numerous other titles including the Florida heavyweight title, the Florida TV title, NWA Georgia tag-team title (with Eddie Graham), NWA world tag-team title (with Kevin Sullivan), and the North American and U.S. tag-team titles with Steve Keirn.
He held the NWA tag-team title on 16 occasions (nine times with Keirn, three times with Sullivan and with Eddie Graham, Ken Lucas, Ray Stevens and Barry Windham).
Graham, an amateur standout and accomplished powerlifter, was trained in the pro ranks by Hiro Matsuda, Boris Malenko and his father.
He excelled on the mat at Tampa’s Robinson High, a school whose wrestling program was jump-started by Graham’s dad and would produce such future stars as Dick Slater, Steve Keirn, Mike McCord (Austin Idol) and Hulk Hogan.
“When Mike was a senior in high school, he beat Ricky Steamboat, who was a sophomore, for the state championship,” recalled Flair. “Of course he (Steamboat) was Richard Blood back then.”
Graham worked as a road agent and trainer in WCW following his in-ring retirement.
Graham lived in Tampa where he hosted a weekly radio show called “Talking Wrestling with Mike Graham.”
Graham, who was instrumental in the transfer of the Florida Championship Wrestling TV library to WWE, accepted for his late father at the company’s 2008 Hall of Fame ceremony.
“Mike Graham was as tough as they come. His reputation was legit for his size. He was very tough,” said Flair.
Flair said he remembers many happy times he and his family spent with Graham.
“We would get drunk in his boat all afternoon and then go wrestle for an hour somewhere. I never drank before I wrestled until I was with him,” Flair joked.
Reach Mike Mooneyham at 843-937-5517 or email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @ByMike Mooneyham and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MikeMooneyham.