March 6th, 2012
09:46 AM ET
3 years ago

Stations, advertisers drop Limbaugh

(CNN) – A second radio station said it was dropping Rush Limbaugh's radio program Tuesday, calling the conservative host's incendiary comments last week about a law student "unacceptable."

Pittsfield, Massachusetts radio station 1420 AM WBEC, one of hundreds of stations nationwide that carry "The Rush Limbaugh Show," dropped the program from its lineup, according to station general manager Peter Barry. He said the decision was made Monday, and was based upon comments Limbaugh made last week regarding Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, "which we found unacceptable."

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Outcry over Limbaugh's comments began last week after he suggested Fluke was a "slut" and a "prostitute" 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.

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.

The stations' decisions come as advertisers continue to drop their support of Limbaugh's program.

On Monday, AOL joined a number of other companies in announcing they were removing ads from "The Rush Limbaugh Show," which is the most listened to talk radio show in the United States.

"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."

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."

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. Amused

    Have we forgotten the the airwaves Rush pollutes belong to the American people? Give a like if you think we should utilize our ownership and remove him from the airwaves.

    March 6, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. MarkinFL

    I would really like to know which words he had wished he used instead. Since it was apparently just a word choice error I assume he still stands behind the meaning of his statements. Perhaps his old pill habits are back but this time it is Viagra and it went to the wrong head.

    March 6, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."
    ------------------------
    Nice spin Limpy, but in point of fact they've rejected YOU not your audience.
    I for one am thrilled at witnessing your comeuppance. It's been a long time coming. They allowed you to get away with it when you directed it and everyone against President Obama no sooner was he inaugurated. I and many others thought you'd gone too far then. It is my sincere and most fervent hope that enough sponsors and stations drop you so that the rest will follow suit. It would be wonderful indeed to have heard the last of you,there is enough negativity in this world, although I know that will not be the case.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America

    March 6, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. Snooze70

    I see the Mittster is avoiding any confrontation with the GOP Kingmaker and policy spokesman. He's more afraid of this pig than he is of Iran, China, or having to sell his wife's two Cadillacs! And he thinks he has the guts to be the leader of this nation?? Not even close!!

    March 6, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    I'm also thrilled that Ms. Fluke WILL NOT accept your apology, as it was meaningless.

    March 6, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Dan from Tx

    So the question now... Are there enough losers willing to listen to the King of Losers so that his show for losers can continue?

    March 6, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. baycap

    "These advertisers who have split the scene have done very well from their access to you, my audience on this program." I guess Rush doesn't understand business either. Every business decision is weighed carefully and Rush is no longer a valid player.

    March 6, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. PTNY

    Part of the reason I feel he should be off the air is that what he ranted for three days was so insidious that his followers across the country, in blogs like this, started to call this gal and all women, the same disgusting things and worse. Every day, any place I went with his name on it, and if it offered a blog, they were there.
    He has/had a large following of puppets that wholly believe if he say's it, they believe it and repeat it.

    March 6, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  9. Evskie

    Would be interesting if someone would report a list of sponsors Limbaugh still has.

    March 6, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. rizzo

    Attempt to be humorous, yeah right. This guy has contributed almost as much to the downfall of political discourse in this country over the last 30 years as Grover Norquist. If this finally takes him down, I'll cheer and applaud until my voice and hands hurt.

    March 6, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Rush is the head of the GOP, and the GOP reflects his inane thinking. I can only hope that his hateful political agenda can be eliminated. We need to put our country first, and Fox foreign owned media and Rush need to become truthful.

    March 6, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. JMM

    Love it, take what conservatives covet most, their cash.

    March 6, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. Ezra

    How long has Rush been spewing hate over the airways and only now sponsors and stations are finally deciding to do the right thing? Wlecome news, but very late.

    March 6, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Bozzieb

    Anyone who believes that Limbaugh's apology was heartfelt, should remember that it's doubtful that he has a heart.

    March 6, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  15. Emmy Skaddittle

    everyone is looking for a lifeboat, he has finally drove this ship aground

    March 6, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. DPCFOH

    I hope this trend continues of radio stations cancel his show. He needs to resign. It's one thing to have an opinion about something, but it's another to personally attack a person he doesn't even know who was brave enough to give her views to congress. He went way over the line this time.

    March 6, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. Patriot

    American Forces Network, drop Limbaugh. My tax dollars should be used to support this filth against women.

    March 6, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. Patriot

    American Forces Network, drop Limbaugh. My tax dollars should not be used to support this filth against women

    March 6, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. yogotti

    thanks rush!

    -Obama

    March 6, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. pazke

    I'm glad that someone is finally holding him accountable for his irresponsible actions.

    March 6, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Nellie Bly

    I hate to do this but I will also stop watching The Middle on ABC. Patricia Heaton tweeted snide comments about Sandra Fluke asking taxpayers to buy her Starbucks and other non-essentials but the worst part was telling people to send Fluke condoms. Another person spouting off without knowing the facts. My regrets to Sue Heck.

    March 6, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Art Geisinger

    Come on guys! When are the rest of the sponsors and radio stations going to jump on the band wagon!! Rush has got to go down!! He should be banned fron every radio station in America!!

    March 6, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. WillB

    Barely in the same league with Sean Hannity's announcement on his radio show that he had absolute proof Mike Shaivo twice attempted to murder his wife. Then, when Shaivo sued for slander, Sean tried to weasal his way out by telling the Judge, "it's all part of my act, everyone knows I exaggerate (lie)." Judge was not buying it, so Sean decided to settle out of Court rather than lose the case in public.

    March 6, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. Joi Gibson

    This guy simply cannot take full responsibility for what he said. And now it's everyone else's fault – even the so-called left because he stooped to their level – what a crock. Be a man, accept full responsibility for what you said and live with it. What a sorry excuse of a human being.

    OBAMA/BIDEN/FIRST LADY MICHELLE 2012!!!!!!

    March 6, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  25. Paul

    I'm glad to see CNN thinks this is a more important story than Eric Holder declaring the President can order the death of any U.S. citizen it deems a threat. Oh wait, he said he thinks they can only do it if the U.S. citizen is not in this country, he thinks, I guess he needs to check on it and maybe they can kill an American citizen anywhere. Yes indeed, the things we care about.

    March 6, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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