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 We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse."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

    Howard Stern was less offensive.

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. texan

    Ain`t it always the case with Rush ??? He only realizes what comes out of his mouth when it affects his pocketbook.- This guy is a glowing example of when narcism runs amuck.

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Jim

    He is a waste of oxygen, pure and simple not to mention he plays on peoples fears

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. Monica K

    This man and his profit motivated insults are one of the reasons this country has so much anger at the political process. He is a poor role model for anyone, is filled with unsavory character flaws, and I am suspicious of anyone that believes his word is gospel. He is in it for the money, has gamed the system long enough, and should go. I am appalled at how men like him are against birthcontrol being paid for by insurance companies but never mention how Viagra, which is only used tohelp men even have sex, well, that's fine for an insurance company to help them out. Women are the only ones who should have a say when and if they have babies. My husband and I will boycott any product endorsing this show. The buck does truly stop here!!!

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. MannyHM

    Money if used properly is quite eloquent.

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. m

    Hit him in the pocket where it will get his attention. Unfortunately, there are too many other companies willing to jump on the advertising bandwagon with this loud mouth. Hopefully he will continue to implode and self-destruct until he is off the air.

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. 0RacKL

    Sponsor should have withdrawn support for this moron a long time ago. What took 'em so long?

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. barbara kramar

    His show should be called: Mouth Almighty. Keep it up Rush, and, you will be no-more

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. kebo72

    I love the picture of this blowhard. Time to wipe that smile off your face Rush. You're losing your butt (rightfully) this time.

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Cari

    I'm so tired of this being all about sex. There are other reasons women use birth control. Some women have heavy bleeding during their cycle and use birth control to help with that. Some women (like myself) have fibroids and use birth control to help ease the pain associated with that. I am married with kids AND conservative AND religious. Single women are not the only ones who use birth control. And why are men discussing this for us anyway?!

    March 5, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. autoalfa

    to quote Jackie Gleason, "How sweet it is" – Rush, good luck getting a job announcing a baseball game :))))

    March 5, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. damiana879

    We all know that the only reason he apologized at all is because his sponsors jumped ship. He's thinking "Oh crap, Im about to lose money, I better do something!" Not the way he should be thinking "What I said was WRONG and OFFENSIVE, maybe I need to sincerely apologize." Everyone knows he puts this apology on his website, then goes home talking about how that "sl**" is making him look bad. I think that even if it is because the sponsors customers complained about them having their advertising space on his show, that's still a start showing that there are enough people paying attention to point out when someone messes up. I can take some comfort in that...

    March 5, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Christopher Bochniak

    Rush Limbaugh should be taken off the air immediately, and GOP needs to apologize to the public for supporting and encouraging Rush Limbaugh and his radio station to see this country continue to be divided. This is very wrong !!!

    March 5, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. GinnyAnn

    Sears still advertises on his program and they sent me an incredibly stupid response that started with the phrase, "Moving forward". I cancelled my account after being a Sears customer for over 26 years. I had no idea they advertised on this cretin's show. I'll never set foot in a Sears store again, period.

    March 5, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. Teaparty01

    You should take a look at the background on this 30 year old lady on the Internet. She is some some sort of activist although not I am sure more details will come out over time.
    I do not know what she is other than self-centered and greedy since she expects taxpayers to pay for her out of class entertainment

    March 5, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. Bradley

    You don't have to listen, and advertisers don't have to advertise. However, Rush has the right to say what he wants. When the income is no longer there, then he will be off the air. Until then shut up and listen, or don't. Who cares.

    March 5, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. AngryBob

    Just pulling ads from Limbaugh's show isn't going to cut it. Limbaugh is a symptom of a much larger problem of corporate greed. He's on the air because Clear Channel Communications, through their subsidiary, wants him on the air. They are the problem. For any action to be effective, it must be directed at Clear Channel Communications. Advertisers should pull all Clear Channel advertising, not just the Limbaugh show.

    March 5, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. Joi Gibson

    Rush has no sense of decency, he has no respect for others, lacks a moral compass. He is ONLY apologizing because advertisers are pulling their ads. If there had been no outrage over what he said, I guarantee you he would still be spouting his putrified opinions. I am happy to see, finally, he's being called out for the outrageous and offensive comments he makes. Freedom of speech comes with a responsibility as well. I hope he continues to hear and feel the outrage coming from normal people who find him repulsive.

    March 5, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. SickOfIt

    The most concerning part about all this is the fact that he's the most listened to talk show on the radio. I, for one, am proud to say that I've never listened to his show, nor will I ever.

    March 5, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. Jeremy

    I'm not surprised. His apology seemed to lacked sincerity and felt hallow. He claims the remark was not personal but went beyond calling her a "slut." He continued with saying he wanted her to make sex tapes. His true intent seems to be to discredit her and thus her message, a classic rhetorical strategy. The problem is when you throw mud like that, you end up getting dirty yourself. If he wanted to offer a true apology, he should have admitted the wrong that he did, and stop there. However, he goes on to try to explain his stance. This weakens the apology and though I disagree with him and the GOP on this stance will offer some advice and say it weakens their argument. It was neither the time nor place to try and continue the argument from a rhetorical analysis. When you've done someone wrong you don't follow the "I'm sorry" with a "but..but...but." You grow up by ending it right there and either just live with the situation that revolved around the offense or just save it for another day when it presents it self again.

    March 5, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. JRH

    Good! It's about time corporations put principle before profit. Although in the end, we know it's still about profit. If they perceive that profits (from their advertising on Rush's show) will go down, they pull their sponsorship. But at least they're not supporting a small-minded, loud-mouthed bigot anymore, so that makes me happy.

    March 5, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. rtbrno65

    Well it looks like Rush might have finally gone too far. I think that what he's now realizing is that if someone makes their living in the public eye, like politicians, actors, professional activists etc., sure, they're fair game. What you cannot do is hurl insults at a regular private citizen who is exercising her constitutional rights in a democracy. It is chilling effect and has conotations that if you put yourself up for a cause before your elected officials, you might be totally slandered in public. I applaud these advertisers for withdrawing their support of this program. One of the things I really like about this country is that you can stand in front of your elected representatives of congress as a regular private citizen and give yourself a say in what kind of decisions are made there. We don't need the likes of Rush Limbaugh trying to intimidate people who exercise that right.

    March 5, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. ZeroVector

    @Tom: You have a point there; wear a hat and maybe nobody will notice.

    March 5, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Amazing Hypocrisy

    How much do you want to bet that not even 2 percent of "calls" to complain were from actual customers.......I'll bet they were all from democratic activists or others who have never ordered from or used any other products.

    These companies are such fools because now the business they will lose is all of those who use them as a result of hearing about them on Rush.....

    But I have to give props to the liberals ingenious plan becuase the end result is still.....lost their goal is accmoplished either way.

    March 5, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. OregonTom

    Why would Limbugh think its a good idea to speak like that? Rush's parents sure dropped the ball. The ball or baby Rush on his head.

    March 5, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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