Tali Arbel, Huffington Post
March 4, 2012
NEW YORK — A flower company is the seventh advertiser to pull its ads from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s radio program in reaction to his derogatory comments about a law student who testified about birth control policy.
ProFlowers said Sunday on its Facebook page that it has suspended advertising on Limbaugh’s program because his comments about Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke “went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company.”
The six other advertisers that say they have pulled ads from his show are mortgage lender Quicken Loans, mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, software maker Citrix Systems Inc., online data backup service provider Carbonite and online legal document services company LegalZoom.
ProFlowers had said on Twitter that posts it received about Limbaugh’s remarks affected its advertising strategy. ProFlowers is an online flower delivery service.
Limbaugh called the 30-year-old Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” last week after she testified to congressional Democrats in support of national health care policies that would compel employers and other organizations, including her university, to offer group health insurance that covers birth control for women.
He apologized to Fluke on Saturday after being criticized by Republican and Democratic politicians and after several advertisers left the show.
Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks Inc. hosts Limbaugh’s program, one of the country’s most popular talk radio shows. The company is supporting Limbaugh, whose on-air contract with Premiere runs through 2016.
“The contraception debate is one that sparks strong emotion and opinions on both sides of the issue,” Premiere Networks said in a statement emailed Sunday by spokeswoman Rachel Nelson. “We respect the right of Mr. Limbaugh, as well as the rights of those who disagree with him, to express those opinions.”
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment operates more than 850 radio stations in the U.S., and Premiere says it’s the largest radio content provider in the country, syndicating programs to more than 5,000 affiliate stations.
When asked which companies or organizations were the largest advertisers on Limbaugh’s show, Nelson said that that information was “proprietary.” Nelson declined to say how much revenue the company will lose with the advertiser defections or how much revenue Limbaugh’s show brings in.
Clear Channel’s parent company was taken private in 2008 by private equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital.