LOS ANGELES (AP) – Laura Schlessinger, the conservative talk show host who recently apologized for saying an offensive word for black people 11 times to a caller on the air, said Tuesday she plans to give up her "Dr. Laura'' radio show when her contract is up at the end of this year.
The conservative advice maven made the announcement on CNN's “Larry King Live,'' saying she wants to “regain'' her free speech rights.
Schlessinger said she's not retiring or quitting. Instead, she said, she feels stronger and freer to say what she believes needs to be 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 a time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates and sponsors,'' she said.
Schlessinger apologized last week for saying the N-word several times in an on-air conversation with a caller whom she accused of being hypersensitive to racism. She said on her website that she was wrong in using the word for what she said was an attempt to make a philosophical point.
“To imagine that there are people who refuse to accept an apology because they have an agenda and would like me silenced _ I'm done with that,'' she said.
During the on-air exchange, Schlessinger said the caller, who said she was black and married to a white man, was too sensitive for complaining that her husband's friends made racist comments about her in their home.
Schlessinger told King she “never called anybody a bad word'' and “wasn't dissing anybody.''
Corinne Baldassano, an executive with Schlessinger's production company, Take on the Day LLC, said the talk show host plans to pursue opportunities through her website, books, podcasts and a YouTube channel.
At least two national sponsors of her radio program, General Motors Co., and Motel 6, owned by Accor SA, have pulled out, Baldassano said.
Previously, Schlessinger's negative comments about homosexuality on her television show in 2000 inspired gay activists to campaign to get her off the air.