HONOLULU – Television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman's son taped a private phone conversation in which the reality star used a racial slur repeatedly, then sold it to a tabloid for "a lot of money," Chapman's lawyer said Thursday.
"I guess because of whatever level of anger he had of his father, he felt the need to express it in that manner," attorney Brook Hart told The Associated Press.
Tucker Chapman could not be reached for comment; no one answered the telephone at a Honolulu number listed under his name.
The National Enquirer on Wednesday posted on its Web site a clip of a conversation in which Duane Chapman, star of the hit A&E series "Dog the Bounty Hunter," repeatedly used the N-word in reference to Tucker's girlfriend.
Chapman later apologized to his son and the woman, then learned about how the tape got into the tabloid's hands, Hart said.
A&E has suspended production of the series, saying the network takes the matter seriously.
"When the inquiry is concluded, we will take appropriate action," A&E spokesman Michael Feeney said in a statement Thursday.
The show, in its fifth season and one of A&E's top-rated programs, has not been canceled.
An after-hours telephone message for David Perel, the Enquirer's editor in chief, was not immediately returned. But earlier in the day, Perel declined to say how the tape was obtained, saying what mattered was what's on the tape.
In the conversation, Chapman urges Tucker to break up with his girlfriend. He also expresses concern about the girlfriend trying to tape and go public about the TV star's use of the N-word.
Chapman has said he was "disappointed in his choice of a friend, not due to her race, but her character. However, I should have never used that term." He also said he was ashamed of himself and pledged to make amends.
Hart said his client is not a racist and vowed never to use the word again.
"I have never seen anything that suggests he judges people by the color of their skin or racial background or anything but on their character," he said. "Duane lost his composure and made very, very inappropriate remarks, for which he truly regrets."
The TV series follows Chapman and his tattooed crew as they track down bail jumpers in Hawaii and other states. The show also stars some members of Chapman's family, but Tucker Chapman is not regularly featured.
The Honolulu-based bounty hunter first grabbed headlines for apprehending serial rapist and Max Factor heir Andrew Luster in Mexico in 2003.