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.

Also see:

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CNN Poll: Catholic support for Romney crucial in Ohio

Anchorage snow damages GOP caucus site

Santorum fires back at Obama over Israel claim


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

    Correction: 1st Amendment rights

    March 6, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. pre-runner

    Delighted to see station managers and advertisers standing up to this right-wing extremist and generally nasty person.

    March 6, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. K3Citizen

    Rush Limbaugh better buy another bomb scanner because he has more reasons than ever to do it.

    March 6, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Michael

    Interesting that what started as a perceived attack on religious freedom was spun into a women's rights issue. If conservatives had been able to keep the focus where it should have been, and not fallen into this mess face-first nobody would know who Sandra Fluke is.

    Which brings me to my second point. Who exactly is Sandra Fluke? Why is a 30-something law student at Georgetown testifying on Capitol Hill? Why not have another student who isn't quite as...promiscuous...testify? Is she a professional student? It has already been uncovered that she's a women's rights activist; does she work? She obviously is enjoying her 15 minutes, what with appearances on the View and other shows with liberal talking heads fawning over her like she's worthy of this much attention.

    Lastly it is a sad commentary when Mr. Limbaugh's voice gets censored for basically calling a spade a spade. First amendment? Yeah, right...you can have free speech as long as it doesn't countermand the liberal left...

    March 6, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Finally

    Thank goodness some stations and sponsors have some values! This is just the latest in his nasty, vitriolic rhetoric that he likes to spread. This shows the true nature of his character, and it is time for him to go bye-bye. How can Conservative Christians even accept his mantra when he spews such hate? You can love him for just being a person (as the Bible would say), but that doesn't mean it isn't time for him to go!

    March 6, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Robert

    Even now this arrogant hypocrite tries to take the high road.
    Note to Rush, when you're in a hole you're first action should be to stop digging.
    You were wrong, be a man and admit it.

    March 6, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Dan

    The fact that Mr. Limbaugh retains his free speech license is rediculous. When Don Imus made his offensive comments regarding the players on a women's basketball team he was removed form his radio show. Mr. Limbaugh's comments were far more offensive, extremely personal and exceeded even today's (downward) moving boundary of civil discourse. The fact that his political allies and hihs corporate supporters have not spoken out with greater condemnation and actions is itself an indictment of their own culpability.

    March 6, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. joe

    In your spare time, Rush, look up the words "hubris" and"karma."

    March 6, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. prediction

    That is who he is. If anything he will become more bitter. He said he is sorry about the remark about Sandra Fluke. The only he is sorry about the possibilty of losing his opportunity to make the rest of us miserable as he is.

    March 6, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. Real Patriot

    Why this guy is still able to spew his hatred across this country is unfathomable....Oh-I know...he's funded by million dollar companies....sorta makes you proud huh?

    March 6, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. Hey You

    "We disagree with what Mr. Limbaugh says, so we demand that no one be allowed to listen to him".
    Interesting position.

    March 6, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Mk54

    Limbaugh's overheated mud gun has been turned back on him. The filthy pig is in hog heaven, wallowing in glorious hot mud and non-stop attention.

    March 6, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. badskippy

    no rush – it's not that they dont want business – they just dont want YOU.

    March 6, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. Rabil1

    Good for those companies and radio stations for dropping the Jerk, maybe this will be enough to get him off the air once and for all!

    March 6, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. Doug

    I worked for a station that dropped Rush, it took about 2 hours before another station in the market picked him up. he is a great broadcaster and it is quite telling that after being on the radio almost every day for the last 23 years no Democrat hater can point out a single lie. Compare that to a conversation you have with any Democrat, they tell a lie with 10 seconds.

    March 6, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Mervin Malone Jr.

    Rush has been making racist, bigoted and misogynistic remarks for YEARS now! He has done this alongside many other equally hateful giants of the Right-wing media machine. It's odd that advertisers would only NOW feel the need to jump ship. I am glad they are no longer supporting him, yes, but why did they wait until THIS inflammatory remark. Rush is a hateful worm and his audience consists of equally hateful worms. His attack on Sandra Fluke is par for the course!

    March 6, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. Taran

    Here are the key issues:
    1. Contraception is not healthcare. 2. Reimbursement for small, predictable, routine lifestyle purchases is not insurance. 3. Forcing others with religious objections to pay for contraception violates the First Amendment. These are the issues, not some "right to reproductive health." Expect continuing coverage of the distractions from the left.

    March 6, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Jim Kaye

    It's about time the people got smart with this self professed guru of a self-centered agenda to make himself money at all costs to those around him. His transparency is so apparent, it's a wonder how he ever reached so many radio stations in the first place. In listening to him, the first and foremost points he makes are on his own greatness, which I have yet to catch on to. The next platform he addresses are all on the value of having stronger big businesses along with tax breaks for the wealthiest. He then shuts off and cuts down the common people, who are his listeners, even going so far as to tell them how they need to be told what to think! As simple as his basic structure to get attention is, people believe him. He is doing his antics for one reason, to get attention, which in turn gets people listening, which in turn gets ratings, which in turn puts money in his pocket. I don't believe for a minute he really believes what he says most of the time, rather, is trying to gain listeners.
    So get smart America, drop your ads from his show, and turn the radio station to something more wholesome and down to earth. We'll all be better off for it.

    March 6, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. Leelee

    "They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."

    Ummm no, Rush. They've decided they don't want to be associated with YOU anymore.

    March 6, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Luggo

    The guy has 600 stations...is this really news?

    March 6, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. John (jayare) Richard

    Limbaugh's statement that the advertisers who pulled out are rejecting his listeners rather than himself further proves his egotistic, narcissistic, self centered,and arrogant view of the world we live in. In fact, his statement effectively kicked those advertisers in the _alls for dropping him! His apology was weak kneed and delivered by proxy on his website which made it about as real as a flying pig and as genuine as a glass diamond ring. This man has spewed out vitriol and encouraged hate mongering for years with complete impunity. He vilifies and demonizes decent hardworking people and accuses them of treason simply because they don't have the same political views as himself. He's no different than the JackBoot Brown shirts of the 1930's. I hope they all jump ship and America wakes up to this cancer in our political discourse.

    March 6, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. maggie

    It sure didn't help that he basically gave the "good riddance" speech last night towards those who walked away from him. What in the world would possess any new advertisers to come his way? He is toxic at this point.

    March 6, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Joe The Plumber

    (Limbaugh) 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." Typical ploy of a demagogue, to make his followers feel his pain. Hopefully, some of then will reassess their commitment to an deceitful low life.

    March 6, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. twophad

    Rush is no different from what he's been for years–a guy for mean-spirited people to go and feel like it's okay to be piggish. He is a symptom of a disease, albeit an ugly one.

    March 6, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. jb1963

    Can we be seeing the end of the hypocrite know as Rush? When he goes he can take O'Rielly and Hannity with him.

    March 6, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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