Reality TV star Dog the Bounty Hunter has been served with a $1.3 million lawsuit accusing him of ‘racist and homophobic behavior’ while making a TV show which was cancelled before it even made it to air.
‘Dog’- whose real name is Duane Chapman – was served with legal papers in Florida while on the search for missing fugitive Brian Laundrie.
The suit claims that Chapman was fired from Dog: Unleashed! for using racist epithets and carrying an illegal taser which allegedly he used to intimidate his way into someone’s home, according to court documents seen by The Sun.
A representative for Dog said the allegations made in the lawsuit are ‘malicious bogus claims without any merit’.
Dog is currently leading a manhunt for fugitive Brian Laundrie – but the search has been dismissed as a publicity stunt by the star’s estranged daughter Cecily Chapman, 28.
The 68-year-old has documented his search for Laundrie on social media – most recently releasing footage of him wading through swamp water in the park.
Reality show Dog: Unleashed! was supposed to follow the star as he tracked violent fugitives across the US, but it was canceled on April 1, 2021 – weeks before it was due to premiere.
Now, Unleashed Entertainment President and CEO Michael Donovan is suing the reality star for defamation, claiming Dog’s actions during production ‘breach(ed) contractual agreements,’ according to a statement to The Sun.
In the suit, Donovan is slapping Dog with a defamation suit claiming he was fired from the show for using racial epithets ‘to attack Black teenage Black Lives Matter Activists.’
Donovan’s suit claims the investigation into Dog’s use of racial epithets led to the discovery that he also allegedly ‘illegally holstered and wore a taser device during filming in Virginia, which is illegal in the Commonwealth considering Chapman has been convicted of a violent crime.’
Dog is currently leading a manhunt for Brian Laundrie, which his estranged daughter Cecily Chapman, 28, has dismissed as a ‘publicity stunt’
Dog is currently leading a manhunt for Brian Laundrie, (pictured right) which his estranged daughter Cecily Chapman, 28, has dismissed as a ‘publicity stunt’
The violent crime is referring to Dog’s 1976 conviction for first-degree murder.
In 1976, Chapman was arrested for participating in a drug deal that went bad in Texas when his accomplice shot and killed 69-year-old Jerry Oliver.
In 1976, Chapman was arrested for participating in a drug deal gone bad in Texas when his accomplice shot and killed a 69-year-old
While Chapman was in the getaway car and didn’t participate in the shooting, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to five years in a state prison.
Chapman says he’s still trying to clear his name and wipe the conviction from his record. But he’s been unable to obtain the proper permissions to bear arms, write bail bonds, investigate cases or even travel to countries like the United Kingdom.
Donovan’s suit claims that Dog carried a taser while entering the home of a suspect during filming and included a Twitter photo from the time of filming as proof.
The suit says Dog claimed he was ‘carrying a prop’ but when a representative of Donovan’s asked if the taser was real, Dog replied: ”Of course,” which the suit claims means Dog ‘knowingly and feloniously possessed a weapon in violation of Virginia Code.’
Donovan’s suit claims that Dog has ‘engaged in a course of conduct to lash out at Plaintiff for terminating his contract and this conduct has led to Defendant committing the tort of defamation,’ The Sun reported.
As proof, the suit contains an April 7 tweet aimed at Donovan that reads: ‘Unleashed representatives are trying to steal hi Jack Miss lead miss information etc. all dog the bounty Hunter fans and dog the bounty hunter is also trademarked by us,’ which the suit claims falsely accuses Donovan and his associates of criminal activity, and constitutes as defamation as well as attempting to ‘damage Plaintiff’s reputation.’
The suit cites another tweet from September 16, 2021 that reads: ‘They will see how you have lied about all of us you creep again what about the little boys Daddy,’ which the suit says is misleading about the actual cause of the show’s cancellation.
‘The ”lies” Defendant Chapman references are the actual facts surrounding cancellation of his reality TV show… Thus, this statement is not a general statement of opinion, rather a statement Defendant is employing as true to cover up his immoral and criminal activity,’ the suit says.
‘To add ignorant insult to injury, Defendant resorts to tired homophobic tropes, calling one of the openly gay Plaintiff ”daddy” in a mocking manner and making a vile and disgusting implication using the words ”little boys” and ”daddy” together,’ the suit added.
While Dog has not filed a response to the suit, his representatives have called the suit ‘bogus’ and said it’s meant to cover up fraud Donovan’s business is involved in.
‘The claims made against Dog Chapman by convicted felon Mike Donovan are malicious bogus claims without any merit,’ a representative for Dog’s legal team told The Sun.
‘The lawsuit is nothing more than a response to Dog refusing to enter into an agreement with Donovan and his business, and becoming aware that besides Donovan’s criminal background there were multiple active fraud investigations into his company Libre by Nexus from several state attorneys generals.’
‘Dog is very confident that the fictional claims will be dismissed and he then will pursue claims against Donovan for malicious prosecution,’ the representative added.
EXCLUSIVE: Dog The Bounty Hunter is unlicensed to capture fugitives after his 1976 murder conviction and could face KIDNAPPING charges if he finds Brian Laundrie and holds him against his will
If Dog The Bounty Hunter were to find fugitive Brian Laundrie, he wouldn’t be able to arrest or detain him or he’d run the risk of being charged with kidnapping, DailyMail.com can reveal.
That’s because Dog, whose real name is Duane Chapman, is not actually licensed as a bounty hunter or private investigator in Florida – or anywhere else that DailyMail.com has found – making his hunt for Laundrie potentially dicey as he’s legally banned from arresting or holding anyone against their will.
According to professional Florida bounty hunters, there is no legal difference between Dog or any citizen who decides to join the search for Laundrie, whose girlfriend Gabby Petito was found murdered on September 19 in a secluded part of Teton County, Wyoming.
And making a citizen’s arrest is verboten – unless you catch the offender in the act of committing a crime.
Dog The Bounty Hunter joined the manhunt for Brian Laundrie last month and has mainly been searching a Florida camp site. DailyMail.com can reveal that Dog, real name Duane Chapman, cannot arrest or hold anyone against his will or he’d risk charges of kidnapping
Florida bounty hunters, whose job it is to find and arrest suspects who fail to show up to court, are amused that Dog, who rose to fame with his long-running reality show about his hunt for suspects in Hawaii, joined the search.
Chapman recently surrendered to the FBI what he considered evidence, including a can of Monster caffeine soda found in the state park.
He also set up his own tip line and claims to have received ‘more than 2,000 calls’ from as far north as Tennessee.
That, however, could all be for naught if Chapman can’t even so much as touch Laundrie.
Mike Harrison, vice president of the Florida Bail Bondsmen Association, said Chapman could end up charged criminally himself if he were to make the mistake of grabbing Laundrie.
‘That would be kidnapping or false imprisonment,’ Tallahassee area bail bondsman Harrison said.
Harrison says Dog’s lack of licensing is well known in the business and stems from his old murder conviction.
Jennifer Willingham, Dog’s publicist, responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment in an emails saying in an email there’s ‘nothing tenuous’ in Chapman’s legal status.
She refused to expand, and said Chapman is in the field and can’t be reached for comment.
According to state records, the only active and valid license Chapman possesses is to sell insurance in Hawaii.
That’s why Chapman was often accompanied by his namesake son when looking for bail jumpers on eight seasons of the A&E show Dog The Bounty Hunter; and why Dog was armed with a taser and bear repellent instead of a gun.
Chapman’s son Duane Lee Chapman II now works as a bail bondsman in Jacksonville, Florida.
He appears estranged from his dad and often complained on the show that his old man worked him like a, well, dog.
Laundrie’s home state of Florida regulates those who hunt human beings in a strict manner, according to Harrison.
He says Florida struck the words ‘bounty hunter’ from the laws that regulate bail bondsmen in 2007.
‘They changed the verbiage in the law to prevent guys like Dog from coming here from out of state to track down people they have no business tracking,’ Harrison said.