Dr. Laura Schlessinger , the conservative talk radio host who set off a furor last week when she used the "N-word" multiple times
while answering an African-American woman troubled by racist comments, said Tuesday night that she will end the show when her contract expires at the end of the year.
The controversy began when the caller to her show, who is married to a white man, said she was troubled by the fact that he ignored comments offensive to her when they were made by family members and friends. (See audio and a transcript
of the call.)
Schlessinger said she didn't think the use of the "N-Word" word the caller described was racist, saying, "Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is" the epithet. She also said, "Without giving much thought, a lot of blacks voted for [President] Obama simply 'cause he was half-black."
Schlessinger apologized on her blog
and on her show but, when that triggered only more debate and criticism, she went on "Larry King Live" and said she would not renew her contract at the end of the year.
"I want to regain my First Amendment rights," she said, according to the New York Times
. "I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I'm sort of done with that."
She told King, "I'm not quitting. I feel energized actually -- stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country."
Schlessinger has been on the air for three decades and, at its peak, the show was the second highest in radio ratings after Rush Limbaugh, the Times said.
See Mary Curtis' column on the Dr. Laura controversy