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Rush Limbaugh loses another sponsor over 'slut' remark

March 03, 2012|By Kim Geiger
  • Rush Limbaugh, shown at a Miss America news conference at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, has lost another advertiser in the fallout from his "slut" remarks.
Rush Limbaugh, shown at a Miss America news conference at Planet Hollywood… (Brian Jones / Las Vegas News…)

Reporting from Washington — Rush Limbaugh has lost another advertiser on his radio talk show as the fallout continued from his use of the terms “slut” and “prostitute” to ridicule a woman who has advocated for expanded access to birth control.

Quicken Loans Inc. has suspended its advertising on the Limbaugh show, the company said in a statement posted to its website. It was a reversal for the Detroit-based online mortgage lender, which had initially issued a statement in support of Limbaugh’s right to express himself.

“While we do not condone or agree with Mr. Limbaugh’s statements regarding Sandra Fluke, we respect his right to express his views,” Quicken Loans spokesman Paul Silver had told the Detroit Free Press in a prepared statement. “In no instance does Quicken Loans ever have any control of the content or comments of the shows.”

That didn’t satisfy Quicken customers, whose “valuable feedback” eventually led the company to suspend advertising on the show.

Dan Gilbert, the company's founder and the owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, announced the decision on Twitter.

“Due to Rush Limbaugh's inflammatory comments along w/valuable feedback from our clients & staff, Quicken Loans has suspended ads on his show,” Gilbert wrote.

At least two other sponsors, Sleep Train and Sleep Number, announced Friday that they had pulled their ads from the show.

Limbaugh said on his show that Fluke, a third-year Georgetown law student, “wants to be paid to have sex.”  Fluke had testified at a mock congressional committee hearing organized by Democratic lawmakers in favor of the Obama administration’s policy requiring health plans to include coverage of contraceptives.

“What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex – what does that make her?” Limbaugh said on his show. “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”

 “She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception,” he continued. “She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”

Fluke advocated for an employee's right to contraceptives as a part of health insurance coverage. She did not argue that the government should pay for contraceptives, but said employers and universities that offer health insurance plans should ensure such coverage is included in those plans.

Limbaugh’s comments drew intense criticism from Democrats and softer renunciations from many Republicans. Obama called Fluke on Friday to express his support.

He said that “as a father of two daughters, he knew how proud that my parents would be, and he wanted me to tell them how proud they should be,” Fluke said as she recalled the phone call in an interview Friday night. “And that was really touching.”

Limbaugh stood by his comments during his show Friday, and mocked Obama’s call to Fluke.

“The president called her to make sure she's OK,” Limbaugh said. “What is she 30 years old?  Thirty years old, a student at Georgetown Law, who admits to having so much sex that she can't afford it anymore.”

Fluke dismissed Limbaugh’s Friday comments.

"What has been made clear," she said, "is that women will not be silenced on this issue, and neither will the men who support them."

kim.geiger@latimes.com

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