By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau –
WASHINGTON — The number of advertisers who have at least temporarily cut ties with Rush Limbaugh grew to seven on Sunday in the aftermath of the conservative radio host’s self-described “insulting word choices” about a 30-year-old female law student.
ProFlowers, an online florist, is one of the latest companies to announce it would halt advertising on Limbaugh’s show.
“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,” it announced on its Facebook page.
ProFlowers, like other Limbaugh sponsors, faced pressure from women’s groups to end its relationship with the show after Limbaugh branded Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute,” equating Fluke’s advocacy of expanded coverage for contraceptives with her wanting to be “paid to have sex.” Fluke has been a vocal supporter of a new Obama administration rule that mandates greatly expanded access to contraceptives through health insurance plans.
One activist group, UltraViolet, said 91,000 people had signed its petition urging ProFlowers to suspend advertising on Limbaugh’s show.
“UltraViolet members are glad that ProFlowers decided to suspend their advertising from the Rush Limbaugh show. … Our members hope that ProFlowers will do the right thing and not only suspend their advertising but pull it permanently,” it said in a statement.
Quicken Loans, Sleep Train, Sleep Number, Citrix Systems Inc., Carbonite and LegalZoom also have suspended their advertising with Limbaugh, according to The Associated Press.
Republican presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul also criticized Limbaugh’s remarks during Sunday show appearances and on the campaign trail. Eric Fehnrstrom, an adviser to Mitt Romney, said the candidate thought Limbaugh’s apology was “appropriate.”
“I think there is extreme rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum. I think the political process is best served if everybody tones it down. Not only those on the right, but also intolerant voices on the left,” Fehrnstrom said.