March 6th, 2012
09:46 AM ET
2 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. CNN = Certainly Not News!

    WOW… I didn’t know AOL was still in business!

    March 6, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    Maybe Rush finally pushed the limits far enough that the country is starting to reject the extreme partisanship of the right. I certainly hope so.

    March 6, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Eyes Wide Open

    In the words of Nelson Muntz: HA-HA!

    March 6, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. Margaret

    I really dislike (actually hate) his show. Having said that, its purpose is entertainment for the rightwing, nothing more. And what he said, horrible as it is, is not much worse than what he routinely says. Soooo, given all that, cut him some slack. It is useful to be able to tune in and hear what the far right is really saying. I actually wish that the young woman would just say, "foget it. He's not worth the hassle."

    March 6, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. rs

    Limbaugh is an anchor around the Gop's neck- maybe it is time to drop their misogyny plank from this year's Presidential trials, and consider dropping Limbaugh as their spokesmodel. Either that, or the whole mess will sink.

    March 6, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. Gargoyle

    It isn't very accurate to have CNN's main page link say "More Limbaugh stations jump ship" and for the article's actual headline say "More Limbaugh stations, advertisers jump ship" (i.e., "stations") when only one "more" station jumps ship.

    March 6, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. John

    It's about time for our nation to stand up against this perverse sector of right wing hate mongering. Limbaugh offers no solutions, instead he regurgitates sarcastic criticism from a flawed man who has taken sponsors and listeners on a ride to no where land.

    March 6, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. lizza

    O for Gods sake the man said he is sorry. And I am with him why should our tax dollars go to cover contraception. Pleeeaaassee.

    March 6, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Frau Schmidt

    stupid companies. They will be replaced in an instant and Mr Bimbo will be making mor money. you see he has tons of companies waiting for adverstisement slots. Hey capitalism at his best...

    March 6, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Avoice

    As a woman I have been bullied by those types of words. I am a veteran, and a Mom. And I am so glad to see Limbaugh getting heat for his abusive remarks. You will never know how degrading and how terrifying it feels to have those particular words used against you, Limbaugh. I hope that people like you learn something from all this.

    March 6, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    Like the Halloween horror movie sequels, Rush will be back with all his trash talking. Sad to think there are twenty million unsophisticated and gullible listeners who tune in daily.

    March 6, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. Willyd

    I respect Mr. Limbaugh's right to his opinions. That does not mean he has the right to disrespect anyone with whom he disagrees. Pull him off the air completely.

    March 6, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. david

    Rush is nothing more than a verbal "BULLY" who just went too far this time when he attacked a Georgetown Univeristy student who was merely testifying before a Senate sub-committee. I can only HOPE that ALL of his sponsors and affilate radio stations abandon him !!

    March 6, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. glorydays

    Only people with small brains and big mouths listen to this jack donkey anyway.

    March 6, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. Keyser

    NOW Limbo is outrageous??? Way to pander....the guy is what he has always been....sad and derivative. Stop grandstanding...you wanted him and you got him.

    March 6, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Becca

    This is wonderful news! Bump him out on the street corner! He is usless and where does he come of telling someone else they are such awful names. I could call this man a few choice names my self but at this time I will just keep thinking them. As everyone knows what this man is.

    March 6, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. True Conservative

    lolololololololololololololololol! Couldn't happen to a better person

    March 6, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Philojazz

    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."

    March 6, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. DenInNooYawk

    Good to see there really is a limit to the depths to which public discourse in the U.S. can sink.

    March 6, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. Jeetu

    I agree with the stations and adverstisers dropping RUSH's radio talk show. He is a disgrace to America and does not reflect American values or spirits. His statements after this fiasco are more telling about his character of npot taking responsibity for his actions. He is still blaming the very people who financed his talk show. Should we not conclude that he is expecting us to fianance his rude and uncivilized comments (written in clean language as I do not want to go as low as RUSH did).

    If he has any sense, he will resign and fold this show. Its time was in the past and he has overrun his welcome on the airwaves.

    March 6, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. drewsco

    Bill O'Reilly is trying to spin what's happening to Rush as an assault on his 2nd Amendment rights. Obviously he is distorting the issue and fortunately, intelligent voters/people can see through his distortion. Unfortunately, the majority of his viewers are so misguided, they believe all of his crap and in thier distorted mind, they indirectly blame Obama and the government.

    The reality is that Rush Limbaugh was free to say what he said and no one banned him from saying similiar things in the future. However his advertisers-who are part of the free market enterprise-have the right to stop advertising with him.
    When capitalism works in their favor they laud it, when it doesn't, they blame Obama and the government.

    March 6, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. Joe The Plumber

    "At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity," If interity is one of AOL's core values, then what were they doing advertising on Limbaugh to begin with????

    March 6, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. John

    Limbaugh needs to be fired. He has a sewer mouth and has done this too many times. He has no decency to viciously attack a college student who is someone's daughter. You deserve no forgiveness since you have shown none to others. The only reason you have apologized is due to sponsors leaving. You reap what you have sown

    March 6, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    Why is any company expecting to sell to women advertising on this show.We are the purchasers for ourselves and our families and we have all been insulted for 3 days-Was that an apology? Saying he chose the wrong words?? His show needs to end.

    March 6, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  25. pfreda

    fair and unbalanced,thats fox along with the rest of the rats

    March 6, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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