More than 20 of Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors, including John Deere and Geico, have either pulled their ads or asked that it be done
His apology was not enough to stop the flood of advertisers away from Rush Limbaugh.
The radio host’s comments about Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke have now sent at least 20 advertisers and two radio stations heading for the hills.
Sensa Wight Loss program, telecommunications company Polcycom and AccuQuote life insurance are among a slew of new advertisers who requested Tuesday that their ads be removed from Limbaugh’s show. So did clothing company Bonobos, insurance company Geico and John Deere.
"On occasion, a local station may mistakenly run a GEICO ad in the wrong timeslot. We are directing our ad buyers to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Geico said in a customer service e-mail.
Just a day before, AOL pulled its ads, while other mammoth companies like Sears and Allstate said their ads aired by accident and that they would not in the future.
"Sears and Kmart did not intentionally advertise on the Rush Limbaugh show," Sears tweeted. "We've taken actions to ensure our ads do not run on this show.'' Sears has also taken to responding to countless critics on Twitter with a similar message.
Two radio stations – WBEC in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and KPUA in Hilo, Hawaii – have said they are pulling the plug on the show.
"We are strong believers in the First Amendment and have recognized Mr. Limbaugh's right to express opinions that often times differ from our own, but it has never been our goal to allow our station to be used for personal attacks and intolerance," Chris Leonard, president and general manager of KPUA station owner New West said in a statement.
Limbaugh has apologized for his comments about Fluke, whom he called a “slut,” equating insurance coverage for birth control to getting paid for sex.
Also read: Rush Limbaugh Apologizes for 'Slut' Remarks
Limbaugh addressed the issue on his show Monday, even as advertisers continued to flee, blaming the left for pushing him to extreme tactics:
"I don't expect, and I know you don't either, morality or intellectual honesty from the left," he said. "This is the mistake I made: in fighting them on this issue last week, I became like them. Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong, I descended to their level. I feel very badly about that."
After apologizing again, Limbaugh went on to address advertisers from his show:
Calling it a "shame," he said, "They decided they don't want you or your business anymore. This program is always about you … I knew the political inclinations of these people. They didn't care that they were profiting, and I didn't either. No radio broadcast will succeed by putting business ahead of the needs of its loyal audience."
Limbaugh started a national firestorm of criticism last week after his attack on Fluke, who testified before Congress supporting the notion that religious institutions should provide medical coverage for female contraception.
Limbaugh's apology has yet to mollify his critics, many of whom were likely looking for an opportunity to pin down the popular but controversial radio host.
Contraception has surged as a national issue over the past few weeks due in part to Rick Santorum's campaign for the GOP nomination. Santorum, a devout Catholic in contention for 10 different states on Super Tuesday, champions conservative social positions.