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. AKsteve

    Many places will be without three hours of daily hate filled airwaves. The world will be a better place. What took them so long?

    March 6, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |

    3,000 dollars a year for birth pill so make you something and that not nice so all you sponsors who leave we will be watching
    you and also boycotting your products

    March 6, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Martin Walters Seattle

    Who really believes Limbaugh’s apology is real? Oh please, maybe after he goes to counselling and drug rehab again. Future behaviour is best predicted by past behaviour and will remain so until his sponsors / listeners stop being the enablers they are and Limbaugh no longer is able to act with impunity.

    March 6, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. Truthking

    Proud of you guys! Lets see more dump this Jerk!

    March 6, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. kim

    Rush Limbaugh is a disgusting excuse for a human being, and those that listen to his hate filled program should consider what that says about them. I hope his so-called radio show ends up getting cancelled.

    March 6, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. JohnRJ08

    Not enough. They all need to "jump ship". This man, who sits enthroned in his home studio broadcasting lies and insults 3 hours a day, doesn't deserve the wealth he has amassed. Rush Limbaugh should be working at small radio station in Indiana or somewhere in New Mexico. Some place where he can't any more damage to the American psyche and sense of decency. This Sandra Fluke episode is just one of hundreds, if not thousands of similar incidents where he has intentionally distorted the facts in order to attack someone who doesn't share his misogynistic, 2-dimensional view of the world. The man has a high school diploma. Dropped out of college because he couldn't cut it. Now, he routinely insults anybody who is seeking a higher education. Sandra Fluke isn't the first, nor will she be the last.

    March 6, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. NoBama

    They are exposing themselves as leftists. How dare they. Free speach anyone? I don't believe the liberal media.

    March 6, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. he said what

    I could believe the apology if he had just said it once, but carrying the comment into a second day and saying "let us watch" is just sickening. He knew what he was doing and it just backfired. Now he has the gall to say he was just using tactics of the democrats? That is also BS, he has been the king of using this kind of language for years.... hey Rush... remember the Dixie Chicks?

    March 6, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Ron

    The response of Republican candidates for President (excepting Ron Paul) to Limbaugh has been unbelievably weak and cowardly. This shows how much power Limbaugh actually has in the Republican Party. Absolutely disgusting. Every day I think the Republican Party has reached the bottom only to find out the next day the bottom is truly bottomless.

    March 6, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. jon

    Fire him. His trash mouth doesn't belong on the airwaves. He is disrespectful and has only apologized to try to save sponsors.

    March 6, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. conventgirl

    The Armed Forces Network broadcasts Limbaugh? Do the taxpayers pay directly/indirectly for this show to be on the air? Is his misogyny in line with the attitude of the Defense Department toward women? Hateful, racist, homophobic, women-hating, name calling, lying rants are beyond what Little states when he says, "reflect a wide range" of opinion. Whatever happened to decency, respect, responsibility and accountability?

    March 6, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. dave

    I will be happy to see the feedback these flighty advertisers and stations receive. I for one and sick of political correctness.

    March 6, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. NoBama

    Sugar, spice and everything nice.

    March 6, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. john

    Time to go Rush . Plain and simple . Go now while you still have a shred of dignity left (even though it's all you ever had to begin with ) .

    March 6, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. Lady

    I hope the fallout from his disgusting tirade against Sandra continue until he is forced to resign. You see everyone is touchable including Rush!!!! Its about damn time.

    March 6, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. sissy

    I will spend more time listening to a speaker who uses assertive language. It is possible to state an opinion in a truthful manner without being offensive. I don't like politics mixed with drama and name calling. It sounds childish to me.

    March 6, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. Jampy

    I am not one for political correctness and I think that it goes over board at times, BUT IN THIS CASE this man needs to learn a lesson about civility, respect and just darn right self-control. Yes freedom of speech,blah, blah, blah..the bottom line is that Rush Limbaugh LIVES TO SPEW venom on people, he is an angry, self-centered man who puts himself as a conservative. This girl expressed her feelings on an issue she cared about, this is beyond the issue of birth control, but courtesy and respect. Very simple for those that do not agree with this birth control issue, the option is there and if your believes are not in line, then sure choose not to take advantage for it...for others, it does and they will.

    March 6, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. aaron

    How has Bill Mahar fared? That blatant woman h8tr t has said 10X worse, 10X more! NOT to defend Rush, but fair is fair – clean house on both sides. Since he just made a $1,000,000.00 donation to the Obama machine and is a sweet heart of the left, I doubt that will happen anytime soon... so the world goes on spinning downward and out of control.

    March 6, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. Rob Wilco

    Gotta love his commentary regarding the advertisers dropping their spots. If nothing else, it shows that he still doesn't get it, and perhaps never will.

    March 6, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. streetdude66

    I get a kick out of Windbaugh sniveling everytime he has to apologize to keep a sponsor. His whackjob audience actually deify him each & everytime he lies and his record of not knowing the issues just adds to the fire that at best he is nothing more than a misinformed brdwetter. Many times when being caught lying Windbaugh has said that no one should take anything he says seriously because all it is is entertainment. FIXed NEWS talking heads have made the same statements whenever they get caught well. Will the right ever learn the issues at hand & more importantly will they ever be able to speak of them with any intelligence? NAH!!!

    March 6, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. Rick 7809

    I heard some of Rush's show on Monday and he spent more time trying to justify his remarks than being contrite. He knew exactly what his words were and he chose them for their impact. This is what he does for a living and he is very good at it. He spent a lot of time saying he stooped to the "level of the left" with his comments, and that it was a mistake. As anyone who has listened to his show knows, this is his standard way of discussing anything that does not suit his political perspective. He spends his time peddling hate to his right wing followers and has made millions for it. He does not believe he is accountable to anyone for his actions or words. It is time to show him, his advertisers, and his stations that we have had enough of his way of thinking.

    March 6, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |

    it is more of us than them so go head and leave we will be keeping a list that will be printed on all conservative blogs

    March 6, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. gaskin

    Hah...Rush says the advertisers don't need his audience anymore...what a fool.

    March 6, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. anotherGDlefty

    I agree that Rush is entitled to his first amendment well as the right of the free market to drop him over what he says.

    Listen up Rushbots, Ms. Fluke NEVER mentioned sex, condoms, promiscuity or any of the nonsense Rush went on about for 3 days.
    3 days.
    9 hours.
    On and on, he never let up.

    I'm sure Rush will remain on the air but this is your de-facto leader GOP.

    How do you GOP women that need "the pill" for your estrogen treatment feel about his comments?
    Are you "slvts" & "prostitutes" too if you want your insurance to pay for your "medicine"?
    Rush, Glenn & Hannity say you are...

    March 6, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. just checking

    Isn't it about time? He's been doing this for 20+ years..............What a disgusting way to make millions.....

    March 6, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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