James O’Toole, NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
AOL on Monday became the latest company to suspend advertising on the Rush Limbaugh Show in response to the radio host’s comments about a Georgetown law student who advocated health care coverage for contraception.
“At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity,” the company said in a Facebook post. “We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh’s comments are not in line with our values.”
Outcry over Limbaugh’s comments began last week after he criticized Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown Law, for stating her views about contraception coverage at a hearing on Capitol Hill.
Limbaugh said Fluke’s advocacy made her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”
AOL is among a group of ten companies that have pulled ads in response to the controversy. Others include QuickenLoans, technology services provider Citrix Systems, data backup service Carbonite and mattress company Sleep Number, a unit of Select Comfort.
Limbaugh apologized for his remarks Saturday, saying his “choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir.”
Top Republicans and Democrats have denounced the talk-show host, the most popular in the nation, and President Obama called Fluke on Friday to offer his support.
Representatives of Premiere Networks, which syndicates Limbaugh’s show, as well as its parent company, Clear Channel, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Limbaugh’s remarks have sparked a wave of online activism, with thousands signing petitions calling for advertisers to withdraw from his program.
Sears Holdings is among the firms that have been listed as Limbaugh advertisers in online petitions, though it denied this Monday and said local radio stations may have “incorrectly run one of our ads on or adjacent to the show.” The company said in a statement that it was “looking into” the matter, adding: “Sears Holdings does not purchase media based on political affiliations or views.”
Three female Iraq War veterans have also called for the program to be removed from the American Forces Network, which broadcasts to American service members around the world.
Pentagon press secretary George Little said Monday, however, that the Defense Department had no plans for such a move. The CNN Political Unit and CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report.