More Limbaugh advertisers jump ship
March 5th, 2012
09:31 AM ET
2 years ago

More Limbaugh advertisers jump ship

(CNN) – Rush Limbaugh's apology for labeling a law student a "slut" and "prostitute" failed to stem an exodus of advertisers from his radio show, as another company said Monday it was withdrawing spots from the conservative program.

AOL, along with 11 other companies, announced plans to remove ads from "The Rush Limbaugh Show," which is the most listened to talk radio show in the United States.

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"At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity," the company wrote in a post on their corporate Facebook page. "We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh's comments are not in line with our values. As a result we have made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show."

Other sponsors dropping spots from Limbaugh's show include mattress companies like Sleep Number and The Sleep Train, and companies that assist small businesses like Citrix, LegalZoom and QuickenLoans.

One company, Carbonite, a data backup service, said feedback from customers led to the decision to remove advertising from Limbaugh's show. The company's CEO said Limbaugh's apology Saturday wasn't enough to put his company's ads back on the air.

"No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady," Carbonite CEO David Friend said. "Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse."

On Monday, KPUA, a radio station in Hilo, Hawaii announced it would no longer carry the radio program, effective immediately.

"We are strong believers in the first amendment and have recognized Mr. Limbaugh's right to express opinions that often times differ from our own, but it has never been our goal to allow our station to be used for personal attacks and intolerance. The most recent incident has crossed a line of decency and a standard that we expect of programming on KPUA," Chris Leonard, President and General Manager of New West Broadcasting said in a statement.

"Regardless of one's political views on the issue being discussed, we feel the delivery was degrading and the continued comments over several days to be egregious," Leonard continued.

In Limbaugh's apology Saturday, he admitted his "choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir."

He added, "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices."

Appearing on the ABC program "The View" Monday, Fluke said Limbaugh's apology was issued under pressure from advertisers.

"I don't think that a statement like this, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything," Fluke said. "And especially when that statement is issued when he's under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support from the show."

It was not clear Monday whether other companies who suspended their advertising before Limbaugh's apology would reinstate their support following the host's apology. Calls to Sleep Number, The Sleep Train and Legal Zoom were not immediately returned.

ProFlowers, an online flower delivery service, said in a Facebook posting Sunday Limbaugh's comments were at odds with their corporate image.

"At ProFlowers, our mission is to delight our customers with fresh and long lasting flowers, and that is our singular focus each and every day," the statement read.

It continued, "Mr. Limbaugh's recent comments went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company. As such, ProFlowers has suspended advertising on The Rush Limbaugh radio program."

On Monday, Pentagon press secretary George Little said the Defense Department had no plans to stop broadcasting Rush Limbaugh's show to service members on the American Forces Network. Limbaugh's show is part of the Defense Department's policy to broadcast shows that "reflect a wide range" of opinion, Little said.

Little said he had "not heard" of any review of whether Limbaugh's show remains suitable for broadcast after the controversy surrounding Limbaugh. Little also said he could not immediately say what the standards are for whether certain broadcasts are considered suitable by the Defense Department.

VoteVets.org, a veterans advocacy organization, released a statement from female service members calling on Defense Department to stop airing "The Rush Limbaugh Show" on the American Forces Network.

"Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform," the statement said. "Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect."

On his radio show Monday, Limbaugh addressed the advertisers who dropped their spots from his program, telling his audience, "I'm sorry to see them go. They have profited handsomely from you. These advertisers who have split the scene have done very well from their access to you, my audience on this program."

He added, "That's a business decision and it's theirs alone to make. They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."

Outcry over Limbaugh's comments began last week after he criticized Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown Law, for advocating broad health care coverage for contraception at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Limbaugh made the original comments Wednesday, in which he also suggested Fluke wanted taxpayers to pay for her to have sex.

"What does it say about the college co-ed [Sandra] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says she must be paid to have sex?" Limbaugh asked. "What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."

Top Republicans and Democrats denounced the talk show host, and President Barack Obama called Fluke Friday to offer his support.

CNN's Kevin Liptak and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Rick

    Unfortunately, money is what it is all about. Like all the other controversial problems he has drummed up,this will blow over like all the others, the sponsors will come back winners out of this, they know this will blow over, the sponsors will get some free publicity over this, then, in a few weeks, they will come back, and make even more money with the publicity they received for pulling out initially. As for the recovering addict, he will still bring in more money than anyone in his seat, It's business 101, the only thing the station cares about are the dollars, all will be as usual in a few weeks, watch and see.

    March 5, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Lainie11

    Rush Limbaugh was trying to make a deeper philosophical statement that most of the bloggers missed. The real issue was the attack upon religious institutions by Obama via "women's health" issues?????? Give me a break. It's the same old Dumbcrats message that we've been hearing out of this Dumbocrat controlled congress. Obama has to go, he's a threat to our existence. When you realize that the Communist Party is supporting him for reelection, it should make you think twice.

    March 5, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. StalkerJamfo

    He has "morals". His morals are to make money. That is all he cares about. The top Republican "moral". If you don't agree with that moral, then vote for someone that has similar morals to yourself.

    March 5, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. Peter

    Rush, you are such a hypocrit. Just wondering if we were all paying for you to abuse prescription meds? What does that make you? Garbage, that is what.

    March 5, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Natfka

    Now we know which vendors to not use. Anyone that will bow down simple public political pressure is not a company I would want to use. Its pathetic.

    March 5, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. Joe The Plumber

    Fun watching how the GOP candidates hide wihen the de facto leader of the GOP hurts their brand. Not a one of them has the courage to denouce him. George Will has it right – the GOP can talk tough about Iran but not Rush. What a bunch weak knee girly guys!

    March 5, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. olga79

    Why does the republican candidates doesn't have the same back bone as these companies who pulled out of his ads? Why are they so afraid of Limbaugh? If they are truly righteous as they claim they are...then stand up for what is right! Romney said "it's inappropriate.", like a slap on the hand. As George Will said in This Week with George, " It's inappropriate to eat your entree with your salad fork." Santorum said "It's absurd." but said that's what entertainers do.

    March 5, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. Samantha

    Perhaps what needs to be talked about is how Medicare (TAX PAYERS) is paying him to have sex every time he renews his Viagra prescription.

    March 5, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Horus

    Good. Hopefully he'll be off the air soon too. I've been waiting for that t**d to flush for over a decade now.

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. jkINC

    He's a gas bag and a legend in his own mind. Unfortunately his huge audience will likely sustain him in the long run.

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Tea Party Dem

    its good the president called this poor woman and apologized on behalf of rush. just like obama called ann coulter when ed shultz called her the exact same word, and when obama phoned sarah palin to apologize for bill maher calling her a c- numerous times....

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Michele Freyder

    i have trouble taking anyone seriously who listens to this egomaniac. I honestly believe he is responsible for a lot of the polarization in politics...and the sad truth is that the people who listen to him are obviously believing someone who is completely off his rocker!

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Vickie

    He's a big bully!!!

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. filmy

    Bill Maher spews the same thing every week, never a reaction from the media.

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Nancy Habbal

    All women should unite and boycott any advertiser that does not pull their ad from this so called show. I am certainly not going to do business with any one of them that continues to support this lunatic. If the question had been on viagra being handed out for free; he would not have uttered a word.

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Jimbo

    There was truth to the statement. They DO need the money to buy the stuff, but they should be SMART enough not to get pregnant, if they dont want to be! Maybe the govt should supply salt peter to men, then we fight and sue to keep it free!! Hey, if we didnt have Rush, we wouldnt know how bad-bad was!! Why hide him???

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. just me

    What? An election season without Rush? I wish, but it'll never happen...it will be interesting to see what type of sponsors jump on his bandwagon now. I won't be tuning in though. I've never understood why people enjoy his style of commentary...it brings out the worst in us.

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Matt

    Mr. Limbaugh apologized for the wording he used, but not for the utter disrespect and complete disregard for any decency. I already knew he was completely devoid of any common sense at all. Until Limbaugh learns to respect others who may disagree with his views, and to act with genuine courtesy and civility, he should be dropped from all syndicated networks.

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. john

    Hey darren, this is not a classic example of anything but a moron running his mouth about someone he doesn't know anything about.. Would you want your daughter called a slut in front of the whole nation???

    March 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. dd

    rush has a right to voice his opinion, as does bill maher and the student...we don't have to like it or agree to it....but they all have that right.....and really why do all these people actually care what any of them say....i sure don't, i have greater things to worry about.

    March 5, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. baycap

    Like Jerry Springer, Rush is only interested in his ability to shock to make money for himself. Imagine a world where we wouldn't have to listen to those few friends we all have that simply parrot what Rush says earlier in the day. He dumbs down the world every day his show stays on the air.

    March 5, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Roderick

    I ask all people to buy from the sponsor that left Rush and don't buy from those that have not left.

    March 5, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. mrpl3625

    I am writing to express my opinion on the Rush Limbaugh show that Clear channel profits from, and how it is degrading to all people.

    I know clear channel is only interested in profits, so I will speak your language. I am boycotting all clear channel products, and telling friends and family (especially women) ...about the disgusting rant that obviously is not disturbing enough for clear channel to have Rush Limbaugh fired.
    I shall vote with my wallet and remind other friends, colleagues and family which companies (premiere networks as well a clear channel) profit from his hatred every chance I get.

    Congratulations.

    March 5, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. Carol in PA

    This is a copy of the message sent to 6 of the 7 corporations bold enough to pull ads. The 7th, Carbonite, has already issued exactly the type response due.

    Thank you so much for pulling your ads from the Limbaugh show. No one should be allowed to commit the type of vile character assassination and slander this man practices without being called to task. While I am fully supportive of the right to free speech, we have descended to new lows of civility and respect in our society and the likes of Rush Limbaugh contribute exponentially to that decline. Money talks and your message is an absolutely appropriate response to his hate-mongering. Please continue this course of action and encourage those still on board to do the same. If common decency can't motivate Mr. Limbaugh, perhaps the slamming of the coffer lids can. Thank you.

    March 5, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  25. Emily Owen

    Sorry, guys and gals,

    I agree with Rush. I was thinking basically the same things as I was listening to her speech on Capital Hill. Really, I was wondering "where are her parents"? Why should taxpayers be forced to pay for her birth control?? What next?? Paying for condoms for guys. I also plan to boycott the sponsors that dropped Rush. As usual, rats always desert the ship. Again, I fully support Rush (always have, always will).

    March 5, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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