HONOLULU – Television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman's show has been pulled from the air indefinitely by A&E, two days after a private phone conversation in which the reality star used a racial slur repeatedly was posted online.
"In evaluating the circumstances of the last few days, A&E has decided to take `Dog The Bounty Hunter' off the network's schedule for the foreseeable future," the network said in a statement Friday. "We hope that Mr. Chapman continues the healing process that he has begun."
A&E officials said the series, one of the network's top-rated programs, has not been canceled.
Chapman, 54, has been under fire and accused of being a racist ever since the private conversation with his son, Tucker Chapman, was posted online Wednesday by The National Enquirer. Chapman used the N-word repeatedly about his son's black girlfriend.
At least two advertisers have pulled out from the show and civil rights groups have called for its cancellation.
Soon after the clip was posted, Chapman issued an apology and A&E suspended production of the series.
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. He used the slur six times in the first 45 seconds of the five-minute clip.
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.
His attorney, Brook Hart said his client is not a racist and vowed never to use the word again. Hart said Tucker Chapman taped the call and sold it to the Enquirer for "a lot of money."
David Perel, the Enquirer's editor in chief, would not comment on how it obtained the tape.
Civil rights leaders said they were not satisfied with the removal of the show from A&E's schedule. A coalition of groups in Los Angeles sent a letter to network executives Friday demanding a cancellation.
The coalition said the comments were more than racially demeaning and hurtful to black women. "They are a vicious attack on and call to end interracial relations, as well as an incitement to violence," the letter said.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said the coalition believes Chapman's language was much more damaging than shock jock Don Imus' comments.
Imus was fired by CBS in April over his "nappy-headed hos" remark about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. Citadel Broadcasting Corp. Thursday announced Imus' return to radio in December.
"If they can essentially say, 'We're firing Imus in the front door and bring him in the back door later on,' they can also do the same with this guy and his show," Hutchinson said. "It seems like to me A&E is keeping their options open."
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.