LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Outspoken radio show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger will end her 30-year career on talk radio after coming under attack in recent days for using a racial slur 11 times on the air.
“I made the decision not to do radio anymore,” the most popular U.S. female radio talk show host told Larry King in a CNN interview on Tuesday.
“I want to regain my first amendment rights (of free speech). I want to be able to say what is on my mind, in my heart, what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry,” Schlessinger, 63, said.
She said her radio show, which is syndicated worldwide, will end in December when her contract expires. But she is not retiring and promised to continue to speak out on her blog, on YouTube, and in her books.
“I’m not retiring,” she told King. “I’m not quitting.”
The conservative talk show host ignited a firestorm last week for her comments to a black female caller who had complained about her white husband’s use of the so-called N-word, long considered a racial slur against African Americans.
Schlessinger told the caller she was being hyper-sensitive, then repeatedly used the word, raising the ire of some listeners and media watchers.
She later apologized.
The “Dr. Laura Program” syndicated radio show has more than 9 million listeners in 40 countries around the world. It started as a personal advice show but also features short monologues on social and political topics.
Last week’s incident is not the first time that the socially conservative Dr. Laura has met with controversy.
Ten years ago, her views on homosexuality, which she termed a “biological error”, and comparison of gay parenting to pedophilia led to the cancellation of a planned TV talk show.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte