SHARPTON RESPONDS TO 'BOUNTY HUNTER':
Activist says he'll grant Dog's request to meet – but only when he finds time in his schedule.
*Al Sharpton released a letter to Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman via his National Action Network organization responding to the reality star's apology for repeatedly using the N-word in a phone conversation and request for a meeting with the activist to address the situation.
As previously reported, Chapman's phone conversation with his son Tucker, in which he used the racist term in reference to his son's African American girlfriend, was secretly recorded and leaked anonymously to the National Enquirer.
In the conversation, Chapman used the offensive word six times, ironically in a discussion about how using the N-word would destroy his television career if ever exposed. Chapman urges his son to break up with his girlfriend and also expresses concern about the girlfriend going public about his use of the N-word. (Hear excerpt of tape here.)
Once the tape leaked and flooded the Internet over the past two days, the star of A&E's "Dog the Bounty Hunter" issued a statement apologizing for his comments.
Duane 'Dog' Chapman
In his remarks, 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."
Sharpton responded in a letter Thursday that appeared on the Web site of his National Action Network. Here it is in its entirety:
November 1, 2007
Dear Mr. Chapman:
I received your call while on the road promoting a March I am leading on the United States Justice Department on November 16th in Washington, DC, along with Martin Luther King, III, and other leaders in the community against hate crimes and racial attacks around the country. The revelation of your conversation came at a time that is most frightening to a lot of people because we are in a state of crisis with the proliferation of racial attacks, hate crimes, and bias incidents in the United States and abroad. In fact, Abraham H. Foxman, the Executive Director of the Anti-Defamation League and I released an unprecedented joint statement today because of this climate. Even more concerning to me though is that the Justice Department and the federal government have failed to intervene in cases all over the country of racial bigotry and hate which is the reason we are having our march on Nov. 16th in front of the Justice Department.
As a Minister I would be inclined to meet with you despite the racist and grotesque things I heard you say, but I am not willing to rearrange my schedule around the country building up for this march to do so. If you wish to meet with me somewhere on the road that is fine, but 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. The company that airs the show has the right to take steps by any means when there is a public display of a character of bigotry. We did not call on your company’s action but we will not call against your company’s action, because what was said in private is now public, and they have a right to deal with their public perception.
If you are sincere that this does not reflect you, you should not only meet with us, but you should march with us on November 16th and call on the government of the United States to protect people, that unlike you don’t have publicist, don’t have lawyers, and don’t have any protection. They used to have the protection of the United States government.
Reverend Al Sharpton
President of National Action Network