HONOLULU — Television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman's private phone conversation, in which he used the N-word repeatedly, was taped and sold to The National Enquirer by his son, Chapman's lawyer said Thursday.
Attorney Brook Hart told The Associated Press that Chapman's son, Tucker, sent the recording to the tabloid for "a lot of money."
"I guess because of whatever level of anger he had of his father, he felt the need to express it in that manner," Hart said.
Tucker Chapman could not immediately be reached for comment. No one answered the telephone at a Honolulu number listed under his name.
Chapman, star of A&E's hit reality series "Dog the Bounty Hunter," apologized Wednesday, shortly after the Enquirer posted on its Web site a 5-minute clip of the conversation in which he uses the N-word in reference to Tucker's girlfriend.
Chapman used the slur six times in the first 45 seconds of the clip, which has damaged his reputation and jeopardized his career as a TV bounty hunter.
A&E has suspended production of the series, saying the network takes the matter very 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.
A telephone message left after hours 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, adding that it didn't matter because all that matters is 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.
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Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings 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."
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 inapprorpiate remarks, for which he truly regrets."
Chapman 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."
Chapman said he is meeting with his spiritual adviser, Rev. Tim Storey, and hopes to meet with other black leaders.
"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.
The TV 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.
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