On Tuesday, Dr. Laura Schlessinger told CNN’s “Larry King Live” that she will not renew her radio show contract which runs out at year end because she wants back her First Amendment rights.
Schlessinger, 63, has been in radio for over 30 years and is “the number one female talk radio host”, according to her website. Her resignation comes at the heels of an incident last week in which she used the N-word 11 times in a conversation with a caller. While Schlessinger says she regretted the incident, she still feels that her freedom of speech rights “have been usurped by angry, hateful groups who don’t want to debate – they want to eliminate.”
See clips of Larry King Live interview here.
The call that has resulted in Schlessinger’s decision to quit radio came from an African-American caller who wanted advice on dealing with racist comments from her white husband’s relatives and friends.
Schlessinger and the caller’s conversation gradually developed into one about the whether or not it was apropos to ever use the N-word. Schlessinger told the caller that black comedians and HBO uses the word.
One day later, Schlessinger said, “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.”
(Listen to Schlessinger’s apology here.)
Schlessinger said she was not coerced into making an apology, and that it came “from her heart” because she knew she had “done the wrong thing,” according to her website.
Last night on “Larry King Live” Schlessinger 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 or some special-interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent.”
On Dr. Laura’s radio show last night she proclaimed what she had learned in the last week regarding the incident, stating, “To those of you who are listening right now, I appreciate it. Thank you for tuning in to my show. Now, last Tuesday I used a word that I had never used before on air. I pulled myself off at the end of the hour. With one hour to go, we played a tape. Truthfully, I was so upset with myself; I was shaking.”
Additionally, Schlessinger went on to say, “Now, despite all my efforts and sincere desire to express my remorse fully and publicly, it was not until Thursday evening that the news media started getting on the story. Since then I have received support from many of you thanking me for the apology and encouraging me to soldier on.
However, as the media have rebroadcast my error again and again and again and again, compounding the damage which I shouldn’t have done… and never intended to do in the first place… the effect has been that my words have offended many, many, many, many more people and there are many who are saying they will not accept my apology.”
Schlessinger ended her interview with King by explaining that she is not retiring or quitting, but rather, simply moving “on to other venues” where she can voice her “peace and not have to live in fear anymore.”
Sources: http://www.drlaura.com/blog/what-i-ve-learned-from-the-events-of-the-past-week/36492, http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/celebrity.news.gossip/08/17/doctor.laura.ends.show/index.html?hpt=C1, http://www.drlaura.com/