Rush Limbaugh's radio show lost its seventh* advertiser on Sunday in reaction to the crude and misogynistic comments the controversial conservative commentator made about a female Georgetown University law student who testified in support of health insurer coverage of the cost of women's contraception services.
The flower delivery company ProFlowers said Sunday on its Facebook page that it has suspended its advertising on Limbaugh's program because his comments about the student, 30-year-old Sandra Fluke, went beyond political discourse to a personal attack that do not reflect our values as a company.
Before issuing the statement, the company's Facebook page shows it updated its status on March 1 -- the day after Limbaugh called Fluke a slut and a prostitute for testifying on behalf of a free birth control access during a Democratic Party-led hearing on Capitol Hill-- assuring its customers that it did not share Limbaugh's views.
We would like to assure you that we do not endorse the views expressed by Rush Limbaugh. We Understand your concerns and value your feedback, the update reads.
Six other advertisers have said they have pulled advertisements from Limbaugh's program, including the mortgage lender Quicken Loans, mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, online data backup service provider Carbonite, software maker Citrix System's Inc. and the online legal document company LegalZoom.
Limbaugh issued an apology to Fluke on his Web site on Saturday after initially standing by his comments and escalating his attacks. After branding Fluke as a slut on Wednesday, Limbaugh cnotinued to criticize Fluke on Friday when he further insisted that she was a prostitute who was having so much sex that she could not afford to pay for her own contraceptives. Moreover, Limbaugh suggested that Fluke, as well as other women who believe insurers should cover birth control, post videos of their sexual activity online if taxpayers were paying for the contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeliius told a House panel on Thursday that the birth control mandate included in Obama's healthcare overhaul --a policy that caused a partisan firestorm when Republicans and Roman Catholic Church leaders claimed it violated the religious liberty of some religiously-affiliated employers who would be forced to cover birth control in employee healthcare plans -- would not come at a cost to taxpayers.
Instead, Sebelius argued a reduction in the number of pregnancies resulting from the policy would compensate insurers, since they would not have to cover the cost of considerable medical costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Limbaugh, in the statement, insisted his comments were not meant as a personal attack against Fluke, but instead intended to illustrate the absurdity over the congressional debate on birth control access.
In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level, wrote Limbaugh. My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.
Fluke received a personal show of support from lawmakers such as U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. and President Barack Obama, who had a phone conversation with her to see how she was holding up in the wake of Limbaugh's scathing accusations.
The Republican presidential contenders have distanced themselves from Limbaugh's comments. When reporters asked Mitt Romney about the issue, the GOP frontrunner simply said it's not the language I would have used. In an interview with CNN, Rick Santorum did not chastise Limbaugh, instead saying he was being absurd because an entertainer can be absurd.
Newt Gingrich called the controversy surrounding Limbaugh's comments silly Sunday during an appearance on ABC's This Week but said he was pleased that Limbaugh apologized. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., while appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, did not rebuke Limbaugh, but said he thought his apology to Fluke was insincere and simply done because it was in his best interest from a broadcast business standpoint.
Among Republicans, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has had the strongest words for Limbaugh. On Monday, the former Republican presidential candidate told several news programs the radio host's conduct is totally unacceptable and should be condemned by individuals across the political spectrum.
UPDATE: As of 2 p.m. Monday, two additional advertisers -- AOL and Tax Resolution Services -- announced they are ending their sponsorship of The Rush Limbaugh Show.
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...