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Four more advertisers flee from Limbaugh

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, March 5, 2012 12:31 EDT
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Republican radio host Rush Limbaugh, winner of MSNBC host Ed Schultz's "Psycho Talker of the Year" award for 2011. Image: Screengrab via MSNBC.
 
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Update, below: Tax Resolution Services, Co., Bonobos outfitters also drop Limbaugh

The exodus of advertisers from Rush Limbaugh’s radio program continued Monday with Internet publisher AOL announcing that they are suspending further placements on his show following offensive, sexist comments he made about a law student called by members of Congress to testify on contraception access.

“At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity,” the company explained on its official 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.”

Limbaugh’s latest controversy stems from a segment he broadcast last week in which he called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “prostitute” and a “slut” because she supported universal contraception coverage for every person who holds private health insurance.

Limbaugh, who many regard as the unofficial voice of the modern Republican Party, said that Fluke could not pay for contraceptives because she was “having so much sex.” He followed up on the segment by suggesting that if health insurance policies cover contraceptive services, women using contraceptives should publish sex tapes online.

Fluke’s testimony was actually about a friend who could not afford hormonal birth control and developed severe ovarian cysts after her university refused to help pay for contraceptives, citing moral objections. As a result, the woman had her ovary surgically removed.

AOL’s announcement Monday brings the total number of advertisers fleeing Limbaugh’s program to eight, with the online publisher being by far the largest to quit the show. Flower delivery website ProFlowers said Sunday it would no longer advertise on the Republican commentator’s show, explaining that his recent behavior “went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company.”

It is not clear if Arianna Huffington, who runs AOL’s online content distribution, played a role in the company’s decision. Her website, The Huffington Post, was acquired by AOL last year for $315 million. Though originally a progressive blog, Huffington has since explained that the site’s editorial policies are no longer “lefty” — a claim that could be undermined if she’s revealed to have played a role in withdrawing ads from Limbaugh’s program.

A media contact at AOL Advertising did not respond to a request for comment at press time.

A similar campaign against former Fox News conspiracy host Glenn Beck succeeded in knocking off hundreds of advertisers after the progressive group Color of Change launched a boycott campaign against him over his frequent use of racially charged, violent political rhetoric. He’s since been dropped by Fox News.

Update: Tax Resolution Services, Co., Bonobo outfitters also drop Limbaugh

AOL was not the only company to cease advertising on Limbaugh’s program Monday: Tax Resolution Services, Co., a major contributor to Limbaugh’s profitability, said it too was dropping out, and they were joined shortly thereafter by New York-based Bonobos outfitters.

“Thank you for your concerns,” they announced on the social network Twitter. “We have decided to join other advertisers and suspend our sponsorship of The Rush Limbaugh Show.”

Limbaugh had previously done advertising spots for the company, telling his listeners that they offer top-notch services for dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.

He seemed to back off that sentiment in a segment Monday morning, claiming that companies dropping him were essentially telling his audience that they no longer want their business.

Bonobos said via Twitter that they were not aware that their ads were running on Limbaugh’s show, adding that they’ve asked their PR company to pull them right away.

A Hawaiian radio station, KPUA AM 670, also said it had canceled his show entirely.

Second update: AllState pulls ads from Limbaugh’s show

After initially denying that it advertised on Limbaugh’s program, the insurance company AllState said Monday afternoon that it was mistaken and announced it would pull its ads.

“Allstate’s advertising purchase strategy has not included the Rush Limbaugh Show,” the company said in a statement. “Earlier today, we responded to inquiries about our advertising relationship with the show by stating we did not advertise on or sponsor it. As radio listeners notified us that they were hearing Allstate ads during the show this afternoon, we contacted the vendor that arranges for our advertising placements and discovered that an error had been made and advertising time had mistakenly been purchased for the show.”

“We regret providing mistaken information about this situation. We have asked our media buying firm to correct the error by discontinuing any advertising on the Rush Limbaugh Show moving forward in keeping with our original advertising plans and strategies.”

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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