March 6th, 2012
09:46 AM ET
10 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. Marc in Texas

    It's about time that Rush's ego got a reality check. In the last week, he has abdicated about 75% of the political influence he had (and never deserved in the first place, since he is merely a disk jockey with no records). Maybe the GOP "leadership" will begin to understand that they should keep their distance.

    March 6, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. Tracy W

    "Well intentioned young lady..." Really? She's a 30 year old activist. It's disingenuous to keep acting like she wasn't there for anything other than advancing the liberal cause.

    March 6, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. carly

    every advertiser and station carrying his show should dump him. he is a world class loser.

    March 6, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. VegasRage

    Couldn't happen to more deserving person.

    March 6, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. DaveinSC

    Neither the words he used, nor the intent could be considered "humorous" in any way. Very weak and disingenuous defense. The GOP response was even weaker. Limbaugh's remarks were offensive, the response from all GOP politicians was even more so. I don't expect remorse from Rush, I do from his elected flock. It says a lot about GOP values.

    March 6, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. angel611

    If that woman does not sue Limbaugh for slander and defemation of character, this whole thing would appear to be a Limbaugh publicity stunt to boost ratings.
    For someone with such an air tight civil case to not go after someone so wealthy, is beyond all rational thought.

    March 6, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    "That's a business decision and it's theirs alone to make. They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."
    Yes, and the amazing thing is, they will find more than enough customers to fill any gap the dittoheads will have created by mindlessly following Rush's peculiar brand of "comedy" and propaganda.

    March 6, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Malory Archer

    And so it begins. May these be the loose grains of snow that beget the avalanche! Nobody bought his blame everyone but himself non-apology, and he just keeps digging himself deeper.

    March 6, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. callthebluff

    Mitten's Romney should request Bain Capital to pull out also!

    March 6, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. drinky

    Nice Limbaugh...bash advertisers who left...think that sends a message to all the rest that you don't need them either??? Duh.

    March 6, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. OverReaction

    Yet again, much ado about nothing. Take it in all the context and it is no big deal. Why should taxpayers pay? Driven by family breakdown in black community. Out of control culture.

    March 6, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Barry Childs

    In what way was he "attempting to be humorous"? When he takes that paternalistic, snide tone and starts frothing at the mouth? Yeah, that's hilarious. The Gasbag has spent years attacking individual people over the airwaves, appointing himself judge over all others, then whines when others throw it back in his face – "oohh, they're being so mean to me, so unfair". Take your multimillion $ and retire to some remote island, where we won't ever have to hear your name again. Done.

    March 6, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. ron

    Never liked Limbaugh anyway; he is just another plastic person who rants about things not being fair for people who have everything already; the extreme rhetoric from both sides of our political spectrum merely shows that people like Limbaugh are deeply in tune with extremely out of touch can trust these jerks and follow them down the drain, or you can actually work with those that you disagree with.......I urge every American to participate in removing obstructionists from our government; not everyone in the car can hold the wheel at the same time.

    March 6, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. HRPuckinfutz

    What a sad comment it is about America when the Rush Limbaugh show is the number one radio talk show.

    March 6, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. TomCom

    Ha, Rush deserves this. He should feel the pain of his actions!

    March 6, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. Frank

    You have to take into account some sponsors may be looking for a reason to bail for cheaper spots, as the dirty little secret is Limbaugh's ratings have declined in recent years.

    March 6, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  17. Chuck

    Perhaps this bloated boat will get so many leaks it will finally sink.

    March 6, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. White People for Romney

    As the truth is coming out about Mrs. Fluke, turns out Rush was right. I guess in this PC world the truth goes out the window.

    March 6, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. jtango

    This is a perfect example of why the Republicans will lose in November. They should be condemning Limbaugh's tactics loudly and clearly and distancing themselves from him just as his advertisers are doing. They aren't.

    March 6, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. GoldenGod

    Get em Rush – I won't buy anything from any company who withdrew their advertising from your show. The real problem here is not what Rush said – it's with the Obama administrations attempt to change the topic from his efforts to force religious organizations to cover contraception. What happened to separation of church and state? He's tryin to make it look like Republicans are some how against contraception- which is simply redonculous.

    March 6, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  21. yvette

    i dont care what anyone say or do but MR. LIMBAUGH shold be taken off the air.

    March 6, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. stvnkrs10

    You reap what you sow!

    March 6, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. stvnkrs10

    Deserving is all I can mutter

    March 6, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. Jim Smith

    I thought Rush speaks for America, why is this happening?

    March 6, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. Jive Talkin Phil

    What a dink! Sadly, his views reflect much of what is happening in certain circles in politics nowadays. Failing to consider reproductive health and contraception as a serious issue is a major mistake by some politicians. Comparing someone who wishes to act responsibly about her own health with someone who is promiscuous will turn out to be an error likely repeated by others. It's time for America to progress regarding health issues in general. Not everything is about morality.

    March 6, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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