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)

    I simply cannot understand why people continue to hold this clown in such high esteem! The man is nothing more than a loud mouthed, misrepresents facts, partison to the extreme and probably still a drug addict. I have never listed to more than a minute or two of his "shows" but one can get the feel of him from only that small amount of time.

    March 6, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. SickeningGOP/T

    This Rush Limburger needs to be fired. Out of a job. He adds nothing constructive to the nation. And he's a disgusting republican bigot.

    March 6, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. MIKE

    I hope the rest of the advertisers pull their support from this guy! He does nothing but spew vile hatred and bigotry! If I find out the other advertisers then I will be writing them

    March 6, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. Me

    Freedom of speech does not mean you can say what you want. The First Amendment is only there to protect citizens from their government when they choose to speak out against it.

    March 6, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Durundal

    wow, 3 days and that worm is already back to causing problems and trash talking. Go figure, our government is broken, and this genius is the largest talkshow in the US. Remind me again why everyone should be able to vote?

    March 6, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Jim in Georgia

    Somehow I know he will survive... 🙁

    March 6, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. William Marlowe

    "That's a business decision and it's theirs alone to make. They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."

    They(advertisers) decided they did not want to support or be associated with a platform that slanders, attacks, lies and spreads false insulting statements about a women just expressing her opinion about insurance coverage of contraceptives.

    You are a real loser Mr. Limbaugh and do not have the common sense to realize when you should be ashamed of yourself but instead make it worse by horribly misogynistic comments.

    Just like Dick Cheney you need to go away.

    March 6, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. Bob in Ohio

    No Mr. Limbaugh – when you say "they don't want you or your business anymore", I think it's the businesses who don't want you anymore. You, sir, are a very disgusting human being and, I'm not sure why, but I actually feel somewhat sorry for you and your flock of followers.

    March 6, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Send Newt to the Moon

    Thanks Limbaugh. You are helping Obama a lot. How much did Dems pay you to do this?

    Obama 2012!

    March 6, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Doug

    As much as I don't agree with Rush's words, but defend his ability to say it, I can't help to laugh at the hypocrisy. Radio Hawaii said: "never been our goal to allow our station to be used for personal attacks and intolerance." In my desire to listen to both sides of the tracks, I’ve randomly listened to Rush over the years. Don’t support personal attacks? Intolerance? They obviously didn’t listen to Rush because his veiled attacks to EVERYONE on the Left would have made them dump him forever ago. I just seriously wonder how many of the complainers were actually listeners and not just haters who jumped on the bandwagon to make him go away?
    There are stations that couldn’t get him before that will pick him up for cheap money and the haters will continue to not listen to him and his fans, who should really have been the reason for his drop, will continue to listen. Regardless of the fact I think he’s a ultra-right wing bigoted lie producer, when you eliminate someone because they said something you didn’t like, you have to be careful how and where you draw that line.
    "At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity," AOL, you still owe me money from you days of lesser integrity.

    March 6, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. keeth

    He blames it on the left and on the advertisers. He says it was a poor choice of words, as if an accident . . . that he kept repeating for several days? No. He's not sorry for what he said. He's just sorry that his own right wingers are calling him on it, too.

    March 6, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. onoudont

    Can there be any remaining doubt that Limbaugh will say anything to make a dollar? He is a man totally without scruples who cares not one whit for anything but his own wealth. He learned long ago to appeal to the worst instincts in people, to create an "us against them" world, and he has profited handsomely at the expense of his soul.

    March 6, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. LetsBeCiviil

    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."

    The over bloated windbag can't even read his own audience.

    March 6, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. TRUTH

    Wow. He's such an idiot.

    March 6, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. John

    Limbaugh said, "That's a business decision and it's theirs alone to make. They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."

    Um, no. They want consumer business, they just don't want YOU, Rush.

    Don't try to get revenge on the advertisers who don't want to use you anymore. How vengeful could you possibly be?

    March 6, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  16. R

    Rush is one of the most intolerant biggoted broadcasters out there. The mainstream is speaking up and hitting these zealots in their pocketbooks...first Komen Rush...hmmmm...perhaps there is hope. Now, lets find a reasonable presidential candidate that can appeal to the middle, build consensus, provide inspiration and focus on the economy. Social issues are distractions and scare tactics. They are NOT first-order-of-business on the mind of the working men and women of this country. Personal attacks are just distasteful, disrespectful and in no way promoting values any reasonable person could embrace. Fascist propaganda can only last so long.

    March 6, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  17. RC

    As his comments reflect, Mr. Limbaugh has no concept of personal responsibility or accountability. These companies pulled their sponsorship because of his actions and his reaction is to blame them and take no responsibility himself. To highlight a major shortcoming in America today, ask yourself if you agree with the sponsors or Rush.

    March 6, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. neverquit

    Limbaugh is acting like a dying star throwing off it's last screaming bits of energy. Most of my friends who used to admit listening to his show have stopped listening years ago, and it's easier for advertisers to jump ship when the effectiveness of the advertising is dubious, which I suspect. I really doubt the claimed ratings, much like everything else of this Fox News talking points mouthpiece.

    March 6, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Leslie

    EVERYONE, not just sponsors should jump ship on this evil animal!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  20. K Kammeyer

    I agree with Rush in principle, although I think he could have said it a lot more delicately – but that's not his style. Here is how I would have framed the argument:
    "So, this is what the Progressive agenda has finally come to: Makin' whoopee for free, at taxpayer's expense. How noble of them."

    March 6, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. GOP=Make Believe

    Man, the guy just ins't that bright, is he?

    March 6, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. OH Yeah

    Lookee here- even as these advertisers depart, he's slinging mud. I'm so happy he's not my neighbor.
    A No Class Buy, listened to by the mindless.

    March 6, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. paus

    OK so Limbaugh tried to bully a woman into silence. When that didn't work, he whined that HIS free speech was being threatened. When that didn't work, he issued a non-apology. The next day he revoked his non-apology blaming what he said on the Left. Now he has declared war on the sponsors who left, and is bullying the ones who remain into staying, by calling for his listeners to boycott any sponsor who leaves.

    When you go to vote, remember that this vile Rush Limbaugh is the true inner voice of the Republican Party. He is one of the reason I left the GOP (or rather it left me).

    March 6, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  24. David

    The current foul political discourse can be traced directly to this bellicose gasbag.

    March 6, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. vet in tx

    to all the Limbaugh supports, do me a favor and actually read the transcripts from Ms. Fluke's testimony, once you do, you will see why there is a backlash. Rush did it to himself, and basically made up what Fluke was talking about. The whole contraception debate is strictly for one reason! Providing contraceptives through insurance. How many women do you know, that take BC pills for health issues (ovarian cysts, fibrosis, etc.). Had Limbaugh ACTUALLY READ her testimony, he wouldn't be in this mess.

    Are you willing to blame Limbaugh, if Obama wins the general because the women vote goes to him?

    March 6, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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