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.

CNN LIVE:Go to, and CNN Mobile for the CNN Election Roundtable, a live video chat hosted by Wolf Blitzer and the CNN political team, on Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET. Tune in this week for live coverage of the primaries on Super Tuesday on, on the CNN apps and on the CNN mobile web site. Follow CNN Politics on Facebook and on Twitter at #cnnelections.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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 We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse."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

Also see:

Poll: All tied up in Tennessee

Romney gets backing from key Republicans

Barbara Bush robo calls for Romney

Romney, Santorum tied in Ohio

Filed under: Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Sunshine State

    I am pretty conservative, a Republican, but have always thought Limbaugh was just a blow hard. I also have a really good sense of humor, and really tried to find humor in this. There isn't any.

    I am tired of people who are in the public lens on a pretty frequent basis to continute to say and do things like this, then a few days later, come out and apologize and think that it's all better and that we should all just move on.

    Imus, Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, Howard Stern, Tom's "the new trend"...give me a break....

    March 5, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Judith your comment said it all for me.

    March 5, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Unbelieveable

    He is mentally ill, that he would talk about a decent young women who is well spoken trying to educate herself is abysmal, what is wrong with him? How dare he speak to her this way!
    Just because he disagrees does not give him permission to besmirch her? These republicans should be ashamed of the way they are coming across. I feel the same way Bill Maher does, they frighten me! If you disagree with their point of view there is no civlialized discourse just shouting and name calling what has happend to America? If you are not with us you are against us? I blame this on the Bush administrations, apparently the only way they can defend their reprehensible actions is to bully their way through it? Shame on you. I live in Canada and apparently all of our conservitive PM's are trying very hard to follow in the republican footsteps which is very scary for us. The American behaviour impacts the whole world what happened to the work ethic, the caring for other people in the world to be noble and responsible? Everything is a war for you guys, stop the madness!

    March 5, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. jjc9999

    The extreme bravery of this multi-millionaire using a national airwave to insult a 20 year old girl. He lives in Florida,
    and if he insulted one of my grand-girls like this, (I have 4), he and I would have to have a face to face discussion.
    Just so he could demonstrate how brave he truly is.

    March 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Anonymous

    "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."

    Umm, no. We've been asking you extreme rightwing hatemonkeys to come up with specific examples to support your bogus comparisons with Maher for five days now and you've completely failed. Try again later.

    March 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Amazing Hypocrisy


    I 10000% agree with this part of your statement....

    "That is why political discourse in this country has fallen to such abysmal levels. Without them, the Rushes of the world would make no money and, of course, have no audience. There's the real problem everyone. Whether on the left or right, or wherever you place yourself, the hostility towards those with opposing views cannot continue to take this path without it inevitably leading to physical violence. It just can't"

    This is why it is so bad..... because hte reaction is not even..... MSNBC, Bill Maher, LEttrerman, SNL, anyone in Hollywood all speak this way about conservatives and the world is silent.......

    That insane Hypocrisy is why conservatives get so mad...... so until both things are treated equally..... you cannot come to any agreement.

    March 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Toni Botello

    John tht's about the most ignorant comment, other than Rush's, that I have read on this. Birth control pills are not all about having sex...I have a 33 year old daughter that has to take the pills or she would otherwise bleed every day of her life. She is not married, has no boyfriend and no children. BUT that is personal information and it is none of YOUR business. And that is why this whole controversy is so dumb. Men certainly do not understand what the pills are ALL about.

    March 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. John K

    Rush needs to go and find something else to do. I honestly feel he has very little constructive to say and offers nothing in the way of solutions to this country's social, foreign, and domestic financial problems. I do not understand why anyone listens to him for most of the time he is name calling, complaining and generally full of himself. Isn't this behavior what most spoiled children do?

    March 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. MakeItStop22

    John said "The point shouldn't be what Limbaugh said, rather what he exposed...... Do the math, $3,000 a year for contraceptives.... Thats a lot of sex....unless they are doing it professionally.... In which case they should pay their own business and or personal expenses. John, you do the math. That is merely the price of birth control pills, pap smears, doctor visits to get the prescription for the pill, etc., when one doesn't have insurance. But it's a lot cheaper than having or raising a child.

    March 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Brian

    Wow, when the democratic congress person, Debbie W. Shultz, goes on the Bill Maehr show after his comments about Palin, where was the media outcry against that? I'm not saying any of these comments were 100% perfect, however I would simply expect the same standard. Instead, what we have here is an outcry when a republican makes them and zero reporting when a democrat makes them. Where is the journalism?

    March 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Edenheart

    Do we really, really need Rush Limbaugh anywhere on the planet? Is he absolutely essential to the progress of our species? of any species?

    March 5, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. Scott

    His apology was issued in a written statement instead of on his show, wasn't it? Until such time as the words actually come out of his mouth, can be recorded and replayed, and are aired in the same forum as the original insult, this statement is no apology.

    March 5, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. glorydays

    The dumbing down of America will insure this hater's millions.

    March 5, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Dude

    If your political perspective and party represents decency, morality, and family values, you simply cannot call a political opponent a slut. To the extent that chivalry is not dead in this country, it is also unmanly to publicly call a woman a slut and to call for her to engage in pornography. This sort of discourse does not win converts to any cause. While it is wrong to silence Limbaugh's political perspective, advertisers are completely and certainly right to pull their spots. Social conservatives would be better served by a spokesman whose rhetoric is consistent with their espoused values.

    March 5, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. rtbrno65

    "Not saying Rush didn't cross a line (bc he did) BUT this is a classic example of the media coming down on a Conservative, when liberals make similar comments all the time with no ceverage what so ever. Think of all the names Palin has been called. Think of all the things Bill Maher and the like have said."

    The difference is that Sarah palin is a professional politician who was an elected official in Alaska and was on a presidential ticket. Politicians are fair game. If Sandra Fluke was an elected official nobody would be saying anything. Instead, she is a private citizen excercising her constitutional right to testify before congress in a democracy, and Rush Limbaugh is trying to contribute to an atmosphere of intimidation to discourage people from doing so.

    By the way, Darren, I listened to the Limbaugh show on Friday and this talking point about Bill Maher that you're making was taken verbatum right from it. You appear to even have a direct quote here. Think for yourself and stop regurgitating this mans nonsense.

    March 5, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. M


    The point shouldn't be what Limbaugh said, rather what he exposed...... Do the math, $3,000 a year for contraceptives.... Thats a lot of sex....unless they are doing it professionally
    John, you, like Rush, obviously have no clue how birth control works. Pills are taken daily whther you have sex ten times a day, or once a month. There is no math to do. And the issue is to have insurance (which these women are already paying for) cover contraception like they do for ANY OTHER DRUG, including viagara. Get it?

    March 5, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Fla Pete: You were right the first time [Onus], miskey or not.

    March 5, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. glyder

    the name callong went too far,but the point was right your own damn birth control.but these stories distract from the real issue.i guess the taxpayers will be told to buy them a king sized bed too.where does it end.and don't bother me with the womens health issue bs.

    March 5, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. vic , nashville ,tn

    We want other advertisers to do the same

    March 5, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. Drowlord

    My parents listen to Rush sometimes. I've heard his program. I'm conservative-leaning, myself, so I find myself understanding many of his core messages. Nonetheless, I can't really imagine why anyone listens to him. He obviously mixes fact with opinion, distorts his stories wildly, and actively promotes anger and hatred. It isn't useful news (because it's so unreliable), and it isn't very entertaining. In fact, I find his brand of conservatism to be quite scary and unproductive. In no small way, I find his ilk responsible for the sorry condition of the GOP.

    March 5, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. mcineri

    Limbaugh is an awful human being. He always has been and this is yet another example. People are acting surprised by this! He always makes comments like this.

    March 5, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  22. Peter Clarke

    This guy has always been over the top. The comments about this young woman are, to say the least, nothing more than an outrageous personal attack. I commend the advertiser's who recognized this and will support them by buying or using their products. He has always been a slug, filling his pockets with this kind of abhorrent crap.

    March 5, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. Virginiaham

    I'm not so sure women in the United States are paying enough attention to what's happening. When I complained to my Virginia legislator about the trans vaginal ultrasound bill, HE wrote back that it was proposed by a woman! Like that made it okay. Of course she is a Stepford Wife Republican.

    March 5, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Grey, Atlanta

    I cannot stand the guy, but this time around I tend to agree with him. Why contraception is supposed to be covered by medical insurance and Claritin is not is beyond me. The fact that insurance companies are mandated to cover contraception means that everyone's premiums go up to cover this expense regardless whether medical insurance is provided by a private company or a government. Having sex is certainly not a medical condition that must be covered by an insurance company. If hormones are prescribed by a physician to treat a real medical condition, even if the hormones are in the form of contraception, then this should be covered just like any other medicine, including Claritin, by the way.

    March 5, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Former Republican, but never again!

    Another reason why this life-long Republican will never again vote for the GOP!

    March 5, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12