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)

    Boycott Rush and end his hate speech once and for all.

    March 6, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. maf

    No Rush, the advertisers don't want to be associated with YOU anymore! They have distanced themselves from you so that they may continue to attract customers who stand up against misogyny and other forms of socially prudent discrimination issues of today. Say whatever you want, but this is a true reminder of being able to, doesn't always mean you should!

    March 6, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Anonymous

    HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!

    love it

    March 6, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. greg

    Rush said he wanted to be humurous. I do not get how slut, prostitute, sex-tapes, translates into funny. If no one took him seriously, even so, harm done. But unfortunately, too many people treat him as someone who has something intelligent to say and follow his lead.

    March 6, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Hal

    Bill Maher, an ultra-liberal, has consistently made worst comments about Conservative women. Where's the moral outrage from the left.

    March 6, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. hope120

    I think all the sponsers should drop his program

    March 6, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. jerry cc

    I hope they fill his slot with Michael Savage. I love listening to him.

    March 6, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. Nabillion

    yeaaaa budday. one day his time would come and this is it.

    March 6, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Kimn8r

    As the spokesman and defacto head of the Republican Party, Mr. Limbaugh represents the views of right-wing conservatives. Until the time that Republicans in posistions of power and influence denounce this acid spewing nut bag, he will continue to be the face of conservatives and the flag bearer for hate-based politics.

    March 6, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Kay

    Wow, Limbaugh's lost TWO whole stations!

    He'll barely even notice, as the article points out there are still HUNDREDS carrying him. And it won't take long for two more to pick him up, or for the stations to quietly take him back on after his fans threaten to stop listening to the station. He makes them money and that's all they care about.

    March 6, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Bilbo Boomerbottom

    Finally this bombasic blowhard is getting what he deserves!

    March 6, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  12. Freddo

    In response to losing advertisers, Rush claims "That's a business decision and it's theirs alone to make. They've decided they don't want you or your business anymore."

    Rush, can't you get anything right? It isn't that they don't want the customers, they simply don't want any affiliation with YOU.

    I can only hope more radio stations drop Rush's show, and that all advertisers leave. Rush certainly has a right to express his views, but no one has to provide him a platform to do it, and we always have the right to refuse to listen.

    Even Nazis have the right to free speech in this country – and Rush should get the same level of support they do.


    March 6, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  13. paul

    Yep just libs wanting to stop freedom of speech again, go Rush and speak your mind !

    March 6, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Thomas

    Rush Limbaugh Show" on the American Forces Network. ?

    Are you kidding me , my tax dollars spent to help keep people stupid ?

    March 6, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Limbaugh is not fit to be called a member of the human race. He is an unsufferable boor who should be removed from the United State's public airwaves. Limbaugh has a right to say whatever he likes but the public is not required to let him spew his filth on its airwaves.

    March 6, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Jason B.

    With First Amendment freedom of speech rights come great responsibility. It doesn't give you unfettered rights to insult anyone as you see fit.

    But good for the companies and stations for standing up to this overgrown playground bully.

    March 6, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. dion

    Aha Limbaugh has perhaps extended his comments a little beyond the "tipping" range and has finally come to this. Listening to his apologetic speeches has no tone of really being sorry for the given situation. Maybe he doesn't realize the full impact this situation has caused as a whole? I think he thinks he will recover and this is just blip in the course of things. Well we will just see won't we?

    March 6, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. Dude

    Every year, all across corporate America, thousands of people take the online training about diversity, sensitivity, and all that good HR stuff. Usually, when we watch the videos, we just roll our eyes and wonder who would be so crass and disrespectful to a co-worker. Now, we know . . .

    March 6, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Stpn2me

    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.

    So in other words, the first amendment is valid only when it's in a standard that they expect...What idiots..

    March 6, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. SweetonGeeks

    Good! There are some that think he should get a pass because he is an "entertainer". We are not 12 so can we not PRETEND he isn't the overlord of the GOP. His views are shared by the majority of republicans and those views are sexist, racist, fear based, hate mongering and simply unAmerican. I'm no longer going to pretend their is any faction of conservatism that isn't disgusting because they can't get their house in order. The moderates are becoming MYTH and their own party is imploding. They catered to the crazies to win elections and now the chaos is out of the box. Just like Jurassic park. DON'T breed Velociraptors to make money. There ARE NO fences strong enough!

    March 6, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. lisa2010

    hey rush, don't turn around and blame your sponsors for dropping out from your show, and claim that the public doesn't want their businesses any more, they (your former sponsors, can always find other ways of advertising). ITS YOU, THAT CAUSED ALL THIS RUCKUS, YOUR BAD MOUTH IS WHAT CAUSED YOUR SHOW TO LOSE ITS SPONSORS!!! your sponsors will still have their customers, you can state your opinions and execute your first ammendment right to the mirror that "BEARS YOUR FACE"!!!!! HAVE A NICE LIFE!!!!

    March 6, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Tom from Kansas

    AOL act with integrity. Give me a break. They destroyed the savings of thousands of employees with their insane TimeWarner merger. Rush was wrong in what he said. But, Flute has misrepresented herself and lied about the cost of birth control. She wants Georgetown change it's religious beliefs to provide her with a $9 per month perscription.

    March 6, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |

    Rush doesn't get it! The advertisers are saying we don't want you Rush!

    March 6, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. Samuel Henry Thomas

    Mr. limbaugh went to fur in trying to make a point. We should never stop respecting each other. Power, money and fame does not give anyone the right to disrespect another person, everything is not a joke. When a senior federal judge can do the same thing in disrespting the office of the president of the United States this county is in trouble. What Judge Cebull did is called the appearence of impropriety aganst Women and blacks. Where are our leaders?

    March 6, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. Rich Dempsey

    I hope more stations drop this turkey. His "apology" came on a Saturday, out of the news cycle. Moreover, his "choice of words" wasn't just a sentence nor was it funny. He spoke at length about this woman, even to the point of asking for a video of her having sex. What in the world? If this were the first time he's insulted people, I'd say suspend him, but it's not. We should be sure we boycott the advertisers that stay aboard.

    March 6, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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