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Image: Laura Schlessinger
Susan Sterner  /  AP file
Dr. Laura Schlessinger in her Los Angeles studio.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 8/18/2010 1:06:55 AM ET 2010-08-18T05:06:55

Dr. Laura Schlessinger says she's shutting down her 30-year-old syndicated radio program at the end of the year so she can get her "First Amendment rights" back.

Her announcement on "Larry King Live" comes just a week after she repeatedly used the N-word while taking a call on the air from a black woman who wanted to discuss her interracial marriage.

She told King, "My contract is up for my radio show at the end of the year and I've made the decision not to do radio anymore."

"The reason is I want to regain my First Amendment rights," she told King, according to E! Online. "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."

She's not retiring or quitting, she said, but rather, hopes to be "stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country."

Schlessinger, 63, had issued an apology the day after her verbal N-word gaffe and said on her website Aug. 11 that said she was wrong in using the word for what she called an attempt to make a philosophical point.

"I articulated the N-word all the way out — more than one time," Schlessinger said in comments from the opening of her radio show that she posted on her site. "And that was wrong. I'll say it again — that was wrong."

She said she "realized I had made a horrible mistake, and was so upset, I could not finish the show."

Schlessinger said she pulled herself off the air at the end of the hour.

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.

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At least two national sponsors of her radio program, General Motors Co., and Motel 6, owned by Accor SA, have pulled out of the show heard on nearly 200 stations, Baldassano said.

During the exchange on that Aug. 10 show, Schlessinger said the woman who called herself Jade was too sensitive for complaining that her husband's friends made racist comments about her in their home.

Schlessinger, according to her website, is a best selling author of 11 adult books and four children's books, which range from the provocative "The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands" to the children's book "Why Do You Love Me?"

She describes herself as a supporter of children and family values, writes a monthly column for NewsMax, posts a daily blog and weekly YouTube videos.

Among her past controversies:

  • In 2008, on the TODAY show, Schlessinger said, "I hold women accountable for tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love and kindness and respect and attention they need."
  • In May 2007, the Santa Barbara News-Press canceled her newspaper column after the Pentagon launched an investigation into objectionable material found on her son's MySpace page.
  • In October 2000, Schlessinger's negative comments about homosexuality on her television show inspired gay activists to campaign to get her off the air. She called homosexuality deviant and derivative of "biological error," the New York Times reported at the time. She published a letter of apology in Variety, the Hollywood trade paper.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Dr. Laura ignites race debate with 'N' word


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