Dr. Laura Vows to Be Back in Spotlight After Leaving Radio Show

Laura Schlessinger's Announcement Came on the Heels of N-Word-Laced Rant


Aug. 18, 2010 —

Dr. Laura Schlessinger may be leaving her controversial radio show but don't expect her to stay silent for long.

In making her announcement on "Larry King Live," Schlessinger promised that her radio silence won't mean a quiet exit from the spotlight and vowed to be back in the public eye.

"I'm not retiring," she told King. "I'm not quitting."

Her announcement comes on the heels of last week's on-air rant in which the N-word flowed freely and repeatedly.

Schlessinger said on "Larry King Live" Tuesday that she has decided "not to do radio anymore" so she can say the things she wants to say.

"The reason is, I want to regain my First Amendment rights," she said. "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."

General Motors and Motel 6 have pulled their sponsorships from her radio program, Corinne Baldassano, an executive at Schlessinger's production company, told the Associated Press.

She told the AP that Schlessinger plans to devote time after the show to her website, books, podcasts and a YouTube channel.

Schlessinger told King she will not renew her contract, which expires at the end of the year.

She was trying to make a philosophical point, she said, but added, "I didn't help her [the caller] by making that point."

Schlessinger ignited a firestorm of criticism after Media Matters posted audio from an Aug. 10 conversation she had with a black female caller. The caller was complaining about her white husband's friends and their use of the N-word. In response, Schlessinger said:

"Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO and listen to a black comic, and all you hear is n****r, n****r, n****r. I don't get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it's a horrible thing. But when black people say it, it's affectionate. It's very confusing."

Dr. Laura's N-Word Rant Latest Controversy for Radio Host

When the caller said she was appalled by Schlessinger's use of the N-word, the radio host demurred, "Oh, then I guess you don't watch HBO or listen to any black comedians. My dear, the point I am trying to make ... [is that] we've got a black man as president and we've got more complaining about racism than ever. I think that's hilarious."

Their exchange heated up after that. When the caller said she couldn't believe Schlessinger was "on the radio spewing out" the N-word, Schlessinger said she "didn't spew out" the N-word and repeated, "n****r, n****r, n****r is what you hear on HBO."

She then criticized the caller, saying, "Don't take things out of context. Don't NAACP me."

Their conversation ended there. Schlessinger offered an epilogue to her audience: "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry outside of your race."

The Internet dropped its collective jaw as Schlessinger's rant went viral. The story spread through tweets and retweets, blog comments and Facebook status updates. The following day, she offered an apology on the air and on her website.

"I talk every day about doing the right thing. And yesterday, I did the wrong thing," she said. "I didn't intend to hurt people, but I did. And that makes it the wrong thing to have done. I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the N-word all the way out -- more than one time. And that was wrong. I'll say it again -- that was wrong."

It's not the first time Schlessinger has offended masses of people: In 2000, she issued multiple mea culpas after referring to homosexuality as a "biological error" and criticizing gays for "deviant" behavior.

Schlessinger's reach is sizeable: According to her Web site, "The Dr. Laura Program," now in its 16th year of syndication, boasts 8.25 million weekly listeners in more than 40 countries on more than 250 radio stations.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.