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Dr. Laura to Head Off-Air Following Racist Rant

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Aug 18, 2010 7:30PM

2010_08_18_drlaura.jpg Nationally-syndicated conservative radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced Tuesday that she would not be renewing her show's contract, up for renewal at the year's end, following the media blitz surrounding her now-infamous 11 "n-words" in five minutes on-air tirade last week. "The reason is, I want to regain my First Amendment rights," Schlessinger explained on CNN's Larry King Live. "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."

The radio host's rant, heard in its entirety below, was made on her program Aug. 10 in response to a caller seeking advice on how to respond to racist comments made by her white husband's social circle. Schlessinger told the caller she she had a "chip on her shoulder" given that black comedians frequently use the "n-word" and added, "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race." Though she has since apologized for the rant, the damage appears to be done. Some advertisers - including General Motors and Motel 6 - had already severed ties with the program and the host admits "[she] did the wrong thing."

Schlessinger, whose program was previously (though no longer) carried on Chicago stations including WBBM and WLS, has been a target of controversy before. Her comments that homosexuality is a "deviant behavior, a dysfunctional behavior," a "biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex" and that the "homosexual activist movement has become the McCarthyism of the 21st century" have incensed the LGBT community. Widespread protests headed by gay groups led to the cancellation of her short-lived television show and contributed to a loss of several syndication contracts.

The 63-year-old host now plans to pursue other opportunities "through her website, books, podcasts and a YouTube channel," according to a spokesperson.