HONOLULU – Television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman has apologized for repeatedly using a racial slur in a profanity-laced tirade during a private phone conversation with his son that was recorded and posted online.
Chapman, star of A&E's hit reality series "Dog the Bounty Hunter," issued a statement Wednesday apologizing for the comments after The National Enquirer posted a clip of the conversation in which he uses the N-word in reference to his son's girlfriend.
"We take this matter very seriously," A&E spokesman Michael Feeney said in a statement Thursday. "Pending an investigation, we have suspended production on the series. When the inquiry is concluded, we will take appropriate action."
The recording was first posted online by the Enquirer. It was unclear who recorded the conversation or how the tabloid obtained the 1 1/2-minute clip in which Chapman uses the N-word six times.
"There's no problem with how the tape was obtained and Dog has acknowledged its authenticity, and admitted to using the racist language," said David Perel, the Enquirer's editor-in-chief.
Perel declined to comment on how the tape was obtained. He said that doesn't matter because all that matters is what's on the tape.
In the conversation, Chapman urges his son, Tucker, to break up with his girlfriend. He also expresses concern about the girlfriend going public about the TV star's use of the N-word.
In the clip, Chapman also stated he doesn't care that his son's girlfriend is black.
In a statement, the 54-year-old Chapman said he has "utmost respect and aloha for black people who have suffered so much due to racial discrimination and acts of hatred.
"I did not mean to add yet another slap in the face to an entire race of people who have brought so many gifts to this world," he said. "I am ashamed of myself and I pledge to do whatever I can to repair this damage I have caused."
Chapman said, "My sincerest, heartfelt apologies go out to every person I have offended for my regrettable use of very inappropriate language. I am deeply disappointed in myself for speaking out of anger to my son and using such a hateful term in a private phone conversation."
Chapman said the clip was completely taken out of context.
"I was disappointed in his choice of a friend, not due to her race, but her character," he said. "However, I should have never used that term."
Chapman said he is meeting with his spiritual adviser, Rev. Tim Storey, who is black, and hopes to meet with other black leaders, "so they can see who I really am and teach me the right thing to do to make things right, again."
"I know that all of my fans are deeply disappointed in me, as well, as I have tried to be a model for doing the right thing," he said. "I did not do the right thing this time, and hope you will forgive me."
Civil-rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton is among the leaders Chapman contacted. In a letter Thursday to the bounty hunter, Sharpton wrote that as a minister, he would be inclined to meet "despite the racist and grotesque things I heard you say."
Sharpton said he would be willing to meet while traveling to promote a Nov. 16 march in Washington against hate crimes and racial attacks, but would not rearrange his road trip to do so.
"Be assured that I will not sanitize the kind of hate language that leads to the hate action that has left so many people vulnerable in America today," Sharpton wrote.
Sharpton noted he hadn't called for action by A&E, but will not call against it, either.
Chapman's show was in its fifth season and is one of A&E's top-rated programs. The series follows Chapman and his tattooed crew as they track down bail jumpers in Hawaii and other states.
The Honolulu-based bounty hunter first grabbed headlines for apprehending serial rapist and Max Factor heir Andrew Luster in Mexico in 2003.