More Limbaugh advertisers jump ship
March 5th, 2012
09:31 AM ET
11 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 We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse."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., 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. logicnLA

    If they had any conscience at all, they would not have supported him inthe first place.

    March 5, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. quieteye

    Just trying to be humurous Rush?

    So your contrarian red meat of distortions, half-truths, fact-checked lies and myth making political spin-weaving is all aout humor?

    Get that ditto-heads?

    March 5, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. 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 5, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. Wanderer

    Limbaugh’s arrogance is eating his brain cells. Sooner or later, the advertisers will be eaten by his arrogance, too.

    March 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. JeanneLH

    I was surprised to learn that he was the most listened to radio show. That's pretty scary. How anyone can listen to such hate and believe it? I thought even more creepy than Sandra Fluke being called a slut and prostitute was him asking to provide videos each time she had sex. Has the GOP sunk this low? You know when you try and keep women under your thumb in this country, it's never going to work? We've come too far to ever go back to "Leave it to Beaver" days with June cooking breakfast in heels.

    March 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. DAn

    Rush Limbaugh is and always has been an obnoxious bigoted blowhard and he does far more damage to his own party than he does to his opponents.

    March 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. loverpoint

    I guess Limbaugh felt he was like any other celebrity, they can say or do something stupid and all they have to do is apologize. No Rush you have had to many strikes against you, three strikes and you should have been sent to prison, but you have enough strikes for all the major league baseball teams for a season.

    March 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. griff griff

    I like the Viagara comments...What say ye, Rush??

    March 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Paul

    Bill Mahar is so much more civil than Rush. Get a grip, What Rush said was bad, what many (many) on the left say about people is also bad. So why is this a national news item and most of what those on the left spew relegated to the back page if at all?

    March 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Fla Pete

    Don Onus got suspended for less,so why is the FCC dragging its feet.Because the FCC is primarily made up of hypocrites like the republicans...

    March 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Mike

    He called it like he saw it. If the shoe fits... I am sure many more will want to advertise with him now so not really a big deal. Why is this newsworthy?

    March 5, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. owtdorsmn

    Wow, and this guy makes like 80M/year to say these things. Eangenital, you are right unfortunately he will survive. But heres to hoping this muffles this nut job!! He labels others, isn't he a drug addict biggot??? Another example of how mentally corrupt the 1% is.

    March 5, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. Amazing Hypocrisy

    Why didn't this happen to David Letterman when he use the exact same word about Sarah Palin's daughter???

    March 5, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. michael

    Good. That fat pig of a man (in all respects) needs to be silenced. His brand of commentary has no place in America. It's damaging, insulting, and crass. I can only hope Rash goes the way of the dinosaur that he is. Stupid member of the GOP.

    March 5, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. BigTBone

    Carbonite CEO David Friend... "Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency."

    Wait a minute, somewhere out there corporate america has a soul and sense of decency? We need more C level execs standing up for what's right. Not just what is right for the shareholders. I applaud the companies that have pulled advertising.

    March 5, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  16. Andy

    I hear a lot of people saying he should be taken off the air for what he has said, this time and in the past. I've always considered myself a conservative, but can't stand the venom that spews from the mouth of Mr. Limbaugh. He has every right to voice his opinions, and now the system is working as it should when someone steps over the line as he has. Hopefully the lack of advertisers will send a clear message, and nothing would make me happier than to see him lose his show. However, it should be a result of the public sending a message, not a result of a government body taking action against him. I am a big proponent of the first ammendment, and also a proponent of taking responsibility for your actions.

    March 5, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. jilli

    This was not an apology, it was a PR statement put out by his lawyers in attempt to slow or end the exodus of advertisers.

    As far as claiming that top republicans have "denounced the talk show host" – that's an exaggeration. Mr. Santorum dismissed the incident by claiming limbaugh is and "entertainer". How pathetic. Mr. Romney stated that he would not have made the same word choice. Really? What words would you have used to label Ms. Fluke a sl ut? He didn't denounce the content just the wording. The reaction of these two is a real profile in cowardice.

    March 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. Kendra

    I support Rush's right to say whatever his hearts desires and I also support a free market not financial supporting the product he's selling.

    March 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. Kathy Eng

    Really? This is news? He needed to appologize. People should be treated with respect, regardless, there are more important things happening in the world.. shoot, probably in everyones back yard!

    March 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. NameThe Film Professir

    I am so happy to read this. Money is the only thing that really has any impact on the Rush Limbaughs in our world. And why would any company want to associate their brand with his hatred and vitriol?

    March 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. Wyobob

    The sad thing is, my sister is a faux news junkie and SHE is defending the limpburger. Sad.

    March 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. Bob

    I see the general idea in these posts is that some sort of prosecution is in order and Rush should be "taken off the air." Typical liberal big government solution. Always acting like a mob.

    Rush was actually right. I shouldn't be responsible for anyone's birth control. Congress has no right to force a private institution to provide benefits it finds offensive or unaffordable. She testified that she had to work all summer to pay for her birth control. Not my problem and no, I don't care that her getting impregated or catching some disease would cost "society" more. I don't like being extorted.

    There will be advertisers lined up to replace those that left. The folks at Snapple learned the hard way a few years ago. And they had to pay dearly for it.

    March 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. jt_flyer

    this is great news. the tide is turning my friends.

    March 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. Fla Pete

    His name is Don Imus,sorry for miskey...

    March 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. Who forced him

    This guy is so un-American in his party bias as compared to actual ideals he should be deported. When President Bush was in charge if you questioned anything you were a traitor but now that the President is Obama he started off hoping he failed. His drug use is also so hypocritical. He is just a nasty, lying shock jock that it is hard to believe he has such a following and the GOP runs scared of him

    March 5, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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