The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Dr. Laura Schlessinger will not renew her contract for The Dr. Laura Program in the wake of her controversial use of the N-word on her Aug. 10 show. Dr. Laura’s radio show has been in syndication for 17 years. She will go off the air just before Christmas.
Dr. Laura Quits Radio Show: The N-Word Controversy
Last week, a female African-American caller sought Dr. Laura’s advice on dealing with racial comments from her husband’s white friends and relatives. Specifically, she was asking about their use of the N-word. Dr. Laura then went into a rant during which she used the N-word 11 times in five minutes. When the caller protested her racial language, Dr. Laura responded, “Don’t take things out of context. Don’t NAACP me.” Schlessinger later apologized for her remarks.
Dr. Laura Quits Radio Show: Reasons for Departure
Dr. Laura insists that her decision to leave her show has been in the works for months. However, the timing of her announcement has led many to believe it may be related to the recent on-air N-word controversy. General Motors, Netflicks, On-Star, Advanced Auto Parts and Motel 6 have already pulled their sponsorship of her show.
Dr. Laura, who deals primarily with relationship issues on her popular radio show, explained her decision on Larry King Live Tuesday night by saying:
“I want my first Amendment rights back which I can’t have on radio without the threat of attack on my advertisers and stations. 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.”
Dr. Laura Quits Radio Show: Not Retiring
ABC News is reporting that Dr. Laura has vowed to remain in the spotlight, if not on the radio. She is emphatic that she is not retiring and will not be silenced. “I will be stronger and freer to say my mind through my books, my YouTube Channel, my blog and my website,” she commented.
Dr. Laura has the third-highest-rated talk radio show in the nation, behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. She draws nearly 9 million listeners in 40 countries per day. Her show is currently the center of the daytime lineup on KFWB-AM 980.
Dr. Laura Quits Radio Show: Not First Trip Down Controversy Road
Though many have characterized this as an out-of-character rant, this is not the first time Dr. Laura has created controversy on her radio show. In 2000, she was blasted for calling homosexuals a “biological error” and criticizing them for “deviant behavior.” Following that incident, she also issued numerous apologies.
Dr. Laura Quits Radio Show: Visions of the Don Imus Incident
Dr. Laura’s racial slur controversy and subsequently quitting her show brings to mind another recent and infamous talk radio personality: Don Imus. CBS News reported that the network fired Imus in 2007 following an incident in which he used racial slurs on the air.
Protests followed Imus’ racial comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. He referred to the African-American women as “nappy-headed hos.” Sponsors pulled their support, and MSNBC dropped its simulcast of Imus’ show. It was a shocking fall for Imus, a member of the National Broadcaster Hall of Fame once named to Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential People in America list.
Dr. Laura Quits Radio Show: Helen Thomas’ Fall from Grace
The long-time White House reporter resigned in June following racist and offensive statements she made criticizing Israel. ABC News reported that Thomas, in an interview with RabbiLive.com, voiced her views that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland, Germany, America and “everywhere else.”
Thomas, known as the “dean of Washington press corps” was the first female officer of the National Press Club and the White House Correspondents Association. She had covered every president since John F. Kennedy.