Rush Limbaugh ‘Slut’ Fallout Grows: 100+ Advertisers Flee, Syndicator Suspends National Ads

Says Rush Limbaugh syndicator: “We are suspending the requirement to run barter spots for two weeks, March 12th and March 19th”

Rush Limbaugh continues to suffer fallout from his disparaging comments about Georgetown law student and contraception activist Sandra Fluke.

His syndicator, Premiere Networks, withdrew its national advertising spots from his and other talk shows for two weeks on Monday, the same day that Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem called for the Federal Communications Commission to yank the right-wing radio host's license.

Also read:  Rush Limbaugh on Lost Advertisers: "Everything Is Cool"

"We are suspending the requirement to run barter spots for two weeks, March 12th and March 19th, for our News/Talk affiliates only," read an internal memo from Premiere Networks, obtained by radio-info.com, a site that covers the radio business. 

Premiere, Limbaugh's syndicator, has the right to sell some national ads as "barter spots," ad inventory provided as part of their network-wide syndication deal.  Radio insiders explained that giving up those paid spots was highly unusual.

But Limbaugh's spokesman denied to TheWrap that Premiere's decision was connected to the controversy over Limbaugh's remarks about Fluke. The host has apologized for several verbal attacks on the law student, who had appeared at a Democratic event on Capitol Hill at which she advocated for religion-affiliated institutions to cover contraception in health care plans.

"Premiere Networks announcement does not involve the cancellation of any advertising, local or national, purchased within The Rush Limbaugh Show," the statement said. "The advertisers using this contractual relationship are not buying program sponsorships, but rather a fixed number of audience impressions on those radio stations. Premiere's announcement today temporarily stops placing these spots on Premiere affiliated local news-talk radio stations for the next two weeks. It does not affect national advertising in The Rush Limbaugh Show."

Also read: Rush Limbaugh Apologizes for "Slut" Remarks

Over a three-day span, Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut” and a "prostitute" and at one point suggesting she and other recipients of subsidized contraception provide videos of their sexual encounters as a kind of pay back.

Meanwhile, an employee from Clear Channel — which owns Premiere Networks — told TheWrap that rather than blowing over, the advertiser exodus was growing. The latest advertiser to leave, he said, was Preparation H.

Also read: Obama Slams Rush Limbaugh's "Slut" Talk, JC Penney Pulls Its Ads (Updated)

Think Progress reported Monday that to date 141 companies have asked that their advertising not air on Limbaugh's show. The site claims to have obtained an internal memo from Premiere Networks listing 91 companies that have requested that their ads not run, in addition to the 50 advertisers that had already left the show.

These companies include 21st Century Insurance, Hotels.com, Ace Hardware, Honda and Advil.

Which is a pity for Limbaugh, as he could probably use some headache relief right now.

Premiere Networks also carries Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Jesse Jackson.

In another possible blow to Limbaugh's media empire, Ms. magazine founder Steinem, former Ms. editor Robin Morgan and actress Fonda called for the FCC to consider pulling Limbaugh off the air.

In an opinion piece penned for CNN.com, the trio asked, "If Clear Channel won't clean up its airways, then surely it's time for the public to ask the FCC a basic question: Are the stations carrying Limbaugh's show in fact using their licenses 'in the public interest?'"