Los Angeles, California (CNN) — Embattled radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced Tuesday she will not renew her contract that is up at the end of the year, telling CNN’s “Larry King Live” she wants to “regain my First Amendment rights.”
Schlessinger, 63, has been under fire for using the N-word repeatedly during an on-air conversation with a caller last week.
In announcing her decision “not to do radio anymore” after being in the business for more than 30 years, 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.”
National furor erupted when Schlessinger used the N-word 11 times in five minutes during a call August 10 with an African-American caller who was seeking advice on how to deal with racist comments from her white husband’s friends and relatives. The conversation evolved into a discussion on whether it’s appropriate to ever use the word, with Schlessinger arguing it’s used on HBO and by black comedians.
Schlessinger apologized the following day, saying “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.”
While Schlessinger told King on Tuesday that she was still “regretful” over the incident, she said she feels her freedom of speech rights “have been usurped by angry, hateful groups who don’t want to debate — they want to eliminate.”
“I decided it was time to move on to other venues where I could say my peace and not have to live in fear anymore,” she said.
Schlessinger plans to expand her internet presence with her website.
“I’m not retiring. I’m not quitting,” she said. “I feel energized actually, stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country.”