March 6th, 2012
09:46 AM ET
11 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., 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. Len

    Good....Limbaugh is nuts anyway.

    March 6, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. horseyone62

    There is nothing "entertaining" about character assination. Hopefully the obtuse, obese, mean-spirited wind-bag will now realize this.

    March 6, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Snacklefish

    Poor Rush. He can't help it. He was born with a silver mic in his mouth.

    March 6, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Waiting For A Candidate

    Buh bye Rush. Seriously no one will miss you.

    March 6, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. rtbrno65

    This might be a real disaster for Republicans. In their rabid desire to regain the Presidency they have moved so far to the right and have become so contrary to what they see as "liberal" values that they have alienated almost every voting demographic. This Limbaugh thing couldn't have happened at a worse time for them. It also hasn't gone unnoticed that Republicans only criticized the comments after they saw that enough people were complaining as to cause advertisers to withdraw. Before that happened there was no indication that the party had any problem at all with Rush's comments. If members of the armed forces are criticizing the program in large numbers than they might be in some real trouble.

    March 6, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. Taylor Stannard

    I applaud the companies who are dropping this insulting, offensive man. It's about time. Even more insulting is Mr. Limbaugh's "apology" in which he said he attempted to be humorous. What could possibly be funny about calling a woman a "slut" and a "prostitute"?

    March 6, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. Walter

    Talk about incendiary. The headline screams "more Limbaugh stations jump ship." That would lead one to believe that several stations had already dropped the program and that more were doing so. Of course the reality is much different. The article talks about a second station dropping the program. I guess "2 stations out of hundreds drop Limbaugh show" would not have gotten people to click on the link.

    Clearly Limbaugh needs to follow liberal venom spewer Bill Maher. He calls women he doesn't like every name in the book, and when he's called on it he says he can do so because he doesn't have sponsors. I guess Limbaugh should take his show off network, charge a fee for online access, and then (like the liberals acceptance of Maher saying anything he wants) he can say whatever he wants. Hmmm, something tells me the libs would still only allow derogatory speech against women if they are Republican women.

    March 6, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. Anonymous

    He is right in some sense, why should we pay for Sandar Fluke to have sex with tax payers dollars??? She never said it was a medically needed reason other than the fact that she and other students suffer the consicenses of not having birth control, like what Pregnancy?? really people??? WAKE UP!!!!

    March 6, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. Donaldbain

    Poor Rush doesn't like being left without sponsors. I am sure all of the companies bailing on him will do fine, he's the one going away. Bye bye. It will be nice not to hear you any more.

    March 6, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. krag

    This guy is a moron. Way to blame the sponsors telling people the sponsors dont want peoples business. That should make them come running back. The nazis killed 6 million Jews and our misfortune none of them were this pukes grandfather. Hes out of control and needs to be taken off the air.Id say take your meds but if you do anything right thats it. Go after your local station that carry him and those who sponsor him.

    March 6, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. Gary

    Finally, some people are regaining their common sense and telling these hate mongers that it is not "anything goes" and there are repercussions for your hate.

    March 6, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Mikemo

    Bravo. This bigoted misogynist has been spewing vitriolic hatred for far too long, it's good to see some companies and radio stations stepping away from it. While they are washing their hands do to what I consider to be one of Limbaugh's most appalling statements that he's ever made; they still supported this scumbag while he rambled out his hateful rhetoric time and time again. The world would be a better place without Limbaugh and his cronies being an echo chamber for misogyny and bigoted views.

    March 6, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. Robert Cloosdoosch

    Rush, Rush, Rush.
    Will you never stop twisting words around? These advertisers are not saying they don't want business anymore. They are saying that they have standards, which advertising on your vile show violates. You, on the other hand, will say anything for a buck. You have the nerve to call Ms. Fluke a prostitute? It takes one to know one.

    March 6, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. iceload9

    Limbaugh always plays the game of "he speaks for all of us" then when he gets caught "he's an entertainer".

    March 6, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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