[Updates appear at the bottom of this post.]
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about social media, it’s that its power is undeniable. It provides a means of unrelenting communication, where people can make their voices publicly heard faster than the speed of light. And over the past few days, voices in opposition to Rush Limbaugh have been heard – loud and clear.
Since Rush Limbaugh launched his disgusting misogynistic attack on Sandra Fluke, and issued his subsequent non-apology apology, people have been unforgiving of his advertisers, and tireless in pressuring them to drop their support of his radio hate-fest.
So far, several companies have conceded defeat and dropped him like a bad habit.
LegalZoom, the online legal document company, issued this statement over Facebook:
We’ve listened to many concerns voiced from our LegalZoom team as well as our customers. As a result, we have pulled all advertising from the Rush Limbaugh Show.
LegalZoom is a company that prides itself on respect for others, and we do not in any way support or endorse the recent comments made by Mr. Limbaugh.
Citrix Systems, a desktop virtualization company, did the same:
Over the past day, we’ve heard from many great Citrix customers about our advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Show. These customers have expressed their growing concern that some of his recent comments seem inconsistent with the core values Citrix has always stood for – humility, integrity and respect.
While Citrix obviously does not control any show’s content or endorse opinions of their hosts, we do take the concerns of our customers seriously. When they are upset about something, we listen. After careful consideration, we have decided to discontinue our advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Show.
Quicken Loans released this statement over Twitter:
Due to continued inflammatory comments– along w/valuable feedback from clients & team members– QL has suspended ads on Rush Limbaugh program
As did The Sleep Train:
We don’t condone negative comments directed toward any group. In response, we are currently pulling our ads from Rush with Rush Limbaugh.
And from Sleep Number Beds:
Recent comments by Rush Limbaugh do not align w/our values, so we made decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program.
Carbonite, the online back-up provider, who had initially said they would meet face to face with Limbaugh, rescinded their support of his program, even after his “apology,” issuing a scathing statement from CEO David Friend on Facebook:
“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. 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.”
One major hold out seems to be ProFlowers. The company has repeatedly issued blanket statements via social media that they do not “endorse” Rush Limbaugh’s views but have not severed ties with his show. In fact, the company has even honored coupons and discounts for Rush Limbaugh supporters who order from ProFlowers during this boycott…
For all you Rush Limbaugh listeners out there: use your radio code by clicking the microphone and entering your code. But – if you don’t remember the specific offer named on the show, you can still save up to 20% by using the offers listed below on this page! Just click on one of the offers, and your discount will be applied at checkout – no code required.
ProFlowers simply does not give a shit.
Of course, the question remains whether Limbaugh can survive this firestorm, even in light of his “apology.” Believe me, I’m all for free speech, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be consequences when someone crosses the line, as Limbaugh has in spades, and if you’re going to spew that kind of vitriolic garbage, you’d better be man enough to take the backlash when people call you out as the bigoted, misogynistic creep that you are.
So, consequences are lining up at the door, but as Markos Moulitsas pointed out on Countdown with Keith Olbermann (video below), many advertisers simply will not care because they are conservative to their core, but with the advent of social media like Twitter and Facebook, these protests against Limbaugh’s actions are there for all the world to see and are “not just writing a letter that’s gonna get read by some PR department […] this is all public, out in the open,” which means that the companies who continue their support of Limbaugh will have to suck it up and swallow the backlash, too, when consumers avoid them like the plague.
And let’s not forget that women drive the buying power in this country – to the tune of 85%.
There are numerous petitions making the rounds of the internet, demanding advertisers hold Limbaugh accountable and demanding that Republicans denounce his actions. I would suggest you continue to sign as many as you can, insincere “apologies” be damned. Here are a few:
UPDATE 3/6/12 11:21 PST:
More companies are fleeing from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, and another radio station has dropped the program altogether.
Bonobos, Sears, Sensa, Bare Escentuals, Citacost, Thomson Creek Windows, Polycom, Service Magic, Deere & Co., Stamps.com, Geico, Inc., St. Vincent’s Medical Center have all taken steps to insure their ads do not appears on Limbaugh’s show.
Additionally, WBEC in Pittsfield, PA has dropped his show from their line-up:
WBEC’s General Manager Peter Barry says his station hadn’t yet lost any local advertisers as a result of Rush’s comments, and no more than a handful of callers had voiced complaints. But he says over the years he and station staff have grown increasingly uncomfortable with Limbaugh’s rhetoric.
“The nature of Rush’s programming has always presented challenges for us and he’s always pushed the envelope. But this time he’s taken it too far.”
UPDATE 3/5/12 7:08 PST:
The Hawaiian radio station KPUA became the first station to drop the Rush Limbaugh show from their line-up. They issued a statement late on Monday, saying:
“We are strong believers in the First Amendment and have recognized Mr. Limbaugh’s right to express opinions that oftentimes differ from our own, but it has never been our goal to allow our station to be used for personal attacks and intolerance. Regardless of one’s political views on the issue being discussed, we feel the delivery was degrading and the continued comments over several days to be egregious. As a result, we are discontinuing the Rush Limbaugh program on KPUA effective immediately.”
In addition, Allstate has dropped their advertising from his program as well, saying:
“Allstate’s advertising purchase strategy has not included The Rush Limbaugh Show. Earlier today, we responded to inquiries about our advertising relationship with the show by stating we did not advertise on or sponsor it,” the company wrote on its Facebook page. “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.”
UPDATE 3/5/12 @10:42 am PST:
An eighth advertiser has left Limbaugh in the dust. AOL, the parent company of The Huffington Post, announced their decision on Monday:
“At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity,” said Maureen Sullivan, an AOL spokeswoman who confirmed the decision. “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.”
Several advertisers remain, including Lifelock, Life Quotes, Inc, Hillsdale College, Health/Heart and Body, Lear Capital, and Allstate. Armed Forces Radio announced that despite the controversy, they will continue to air Limbaugh’s program.
UPDATE 3/4/12 @11:15 am PST:
ProFlowers Bows to Intense Public Pressure — DROPS Rush Limbaugh Show! –
“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. We do not base our advertising decisions to align with any particular political view or opinion as our employees and customers are as diverse as the USA. 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.”