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 We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse."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. Dan

    Now? This? was the final straw? It's not like Rush hasn't been saying stuff like this or worse for years....

    March 5, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. judith

    This arrogant, pompous creep will always have an audience of prejudiced, angry old white men like himself, but he adds noting of value to society. This time he went way too far,and, on doing, so is helping to reelect the President he despises. Serves you right, slimeball.

    March 5, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Tom

    Hopefully, Rush Limbaugh is taken off the air. He has been a bad smell for too long.

    March 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. bethjoyce

    I can't for the life of me figure out why someone who made such outrageous comments about such a nice young woman (or any woman for that matter) would still be allowed to stay on the air. Why not just take him off? It really would not be such a big loss to our country or society to do without him. Believe me, we would all still go on and continue with our daily lives and be better for it without him.

    March 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. karen

    I am thrilled to see that social activism works. We regular people don't have millions to influence the outcome of elections through SuperPacs, but we can take our purchasing dollars away from businesses that support hate speech. I think we should do it oan a local level too. Most local businesses don't even know where their ads are being run, but I bet if you call them and let them know that their ad just ran on Rush Limbaugh, they will be shocked and call their advertising exec. I did and it worked! Now the only thing running on our local station is a PSA during his show. Sooner or later, the station won't carry him if they can't fill up the advertising space.

    March 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Michael

    As any lawyer will tell you, once it's been said, it's out there and even with a retraction, it's still there. Rush can call it a poor choice of words but he makes a living by choosing those words and should know better. I believe it's simply a case of soemone speaking their mind and now regretting it. It's affectingf his boss by advertisers pulling out their money. Otherwise Rush could care less.

    March 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. David

    This guy is just one of many who want to see this country continue to be divided. Thats how he makes his living. After all if everyone thought like he did, he wouldn't be needed. He is simply an entertainer. I feel sorry for those who take him seriously. For they are suckers.

    March 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. John

    The point shouldn't be what Limbaugh said, rather what he exposed...... Do the math, $3,000 a year for contraceptives.... Thats a lot of sex....unless they are doing it professionally.... In which case they should pay their own business and or personal expenses.

    March 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. Joan

    The weak response from the members of the Republican Party only confirms that he is the spokesman for this party. He appeals to those who generally know very little facts and believe everything that agrees with their restrictive point of views. He represents the hateful aspect of politics and promotes hate. He once said when he could not buy into a football team he did not know how much hate there was......he promoted it. Also birth control pills are used for other health problems that plaque women.

    March 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Tom

    This person should lose all ability to be heard on the radio from this point on until the end of TIME !!!!!!!!!

    March 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. marian

    It is no longer about issues and policy - when you attack an individual verbally, using such demeaning and inflammatory words such as "slut," it is abuse and bullying. We are trying so hard to get out kids through school without being damaged by bullies; we have educational programs, and public service announcements on TV . . . and then a big mouth, insulting bully verbally abuses a young woman AND gets paid for it. How do we get the bullies in school to stop when they have such a prominent spokesperson? Verbal abuse is not free speech.

    March 5, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Evangenital

    Unfortunately, Rush will survive.

    March 5, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. lolzwat

    Amazing that he's issued an apology after his advertisers started jumping ship like rats from the Titanic.

    March 5, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    If there was ever any doubt that the one thing that matters to the Righties is money, this is proof. Limbaugh did not even man-up enough to read it on the air, he released the statement on a website. He only released the statement after millions of dollars in advertising revenue was either lost or in danger of being lost, so this does not reflect a change of heart, but an attempt at damage control. Limp, flacid appeals from conservative politicians did not do it, dollars did. I guess we have additional confirmation from the Right that morals and personal responsibility are even less a part of their lives than we previously thought. I just wonder where Sarah Palin's outrage was during this, along with the rest of the conservative sisterhood? They seemed to think Rush's comments were perfectly appropriate, but mention Bristol Palin and they all fly into a rage; I guess she is the only unwed mother in America they actually like.

    March 5, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Jeff Williams

    Limbaugh will lose his advertisers.

    Then he will lose his base.

    Then his income.

    Then his golddigger wife.

    Good.

    March 5, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. hoosier gal

    I can't for the life of me understand who listens to Limbaugh's crap. Even he doesn't believe half the stuff he spews out...claims that it is all for entertainment and humor. I for one am not entertained, nor do I find any of his utterings humorous.

    March 5, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. Dave

    This article made me feel happy! This guy has had it coming for a long time. Time for him to exit, not graciously, just tossed in the dumpster.

    March 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. jdog

    Too late limbaugh – now i hope he has brought to light the insanity of what these "men" are trying to do – women – we must examine this and then fight it – we are the only ones who should have a say in what we do with our bodies – us and us alone. i cannot imagine having 15 old closed minded sexless idiotic men determining if is have or when i have sex or same for my daughter and hers – OMG really!!~!!!!

    March 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. yahmez the mad

    I hope the advertisers all leave and his show gets cancelled. Rush Limbaugh gives Oxycontin addicts a bad name.

    March 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. al

    I hope ALL of his advertise jump ship the sooner the better.

    March 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. bob

    @kevin

    you forget that S palin is a politician and is a public figure whereas Fluke is a private citizen. I agree that both words should not be used but both scenarios are not the same.

    March 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. johnnyZ

    "This is what we want. We want you to post videos online so we can watch you taking prescription drugs you are addicted to." My insult doesn't even come close to his. This psycho will probably come out on top anyway unless he ODs.

    March 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. allens

    there comes a point where political entertainment becomes unamerican. it subverts the process and turns a important decision into nothing but ugly rhetoric, lies and in this case hurtful attacks. this has to end. the dems have their share of this type of entertainment. if there is no profit in it for advertsers, they will not spend the money on these shows. i looked at rush's advertisers, and will not spend my money with them. many of my family and friends will not either.

    March 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. hope120

    Now if those sponsers will just stick to their guns. Get rid of some of the trash talk on radio

    March 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. PatriciaD

    Good. Money talks. Maybe he'll learn some manners.

    March 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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