More Limbaugh advertisers jump ship
(CNN) — Rush Limbaugh’s apology for labeling a law student a “slut” and “prostitute” failed to stem an exodus of advertisers from his radio show, as another company said Monday it was withdrawing spots from the conservative program.
AOL became the eighth company to announce in a statement online 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 We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”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 his apology Saturday, Limbaugh 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.
VoteVets.org, 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.”
Outcry over Limbaugh’s comments began last week after he criticized Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown Law, 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.
“What does it say about the college co-ed [Sandra] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says she must be paid to have sex?” Limbaugh asked. “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”
Top Republicans and Democrats denounced the talk show host, and President Barack Obama called Fluke Friday to offer his support.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.