NEW YORK (Reuters) - A reality TV show starring celebrity bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman was pulled from the air indefinitely on Friday, two days after a private phone conversation in which he used a racial slur was posted online.
Cable channel A&E suspended production of the fifth series of Chapman’s popular show, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” as the phone call was made public on Wednesday, but on Friday the network went a step further.
“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,” an A&E spokesman said.
“We hope that Mr. Chapman continues the healing process that he has begun.”
He said no decision had been made to cancel the program, which is shown in more than 10 countries, and the network will review the situation again in a couple of weeks.
Honolulu-based Chapman, 54, who says he is a devout Christian, has apologized for using the epithet “n——-“ to describe a black woman being dated by his son, Tucker, and vowed to do whatever he can to repair the damage.
Chapman’s lawyer was quoted in various media reports on Friday as saying that the conversation posted on The National Enquirer tabloid’s Web site had been leaked by Tucker Chapman — one of the crime-fighter’s 12 children.
Chapman, a burly ex-con with long blond hair and leather wardrobe, rose to fame after his 2003 tracking and capture of Max Factor heir and serial rapist Andrew Luster in Mexico.
Media attention over that case led to an offer for a reality TV show tracking Chapman and his “posse” as they chase down people who skip bail and fail to show up in court.
He is the latest in a string of U.S. celebrities to end up in trouble for using offensive language.
Michael Richards, co-star of the TV series “Seinfeld,” sparked an outcry in late 2006 when he spewed a torrent of racial slurs at hecklers at a comedy club. He later apologized, saying he lost his temper.
Shock jock Don Imus was fired by CBS Radio in April for on-air referring to a mostly black university women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.” He signed a new deal this week with Citadel Broadcasting Corp to return to the air.