Rush Limbaugh’s ‘Slut’ Attack Costs Him Advertisers

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Mr. Misogynistic Rant himself. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)Photo: Ethan Miller/2010 Getty Images

Call him what you will — shock jock, blowhard, gross sexist monster — but Rush Limbaugh is sticking by his decision to call Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" for her congressional testimony supporting contraception coverage. This much was clear on Thursday when, instead of apologizing for his remarks, Limbaugh channeled Santorum sugar daddy Foster Friess and promised to "buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want." Now advertisers are pulling out of his radio show, including, somewhat ironically, mattress manufacturers Sleep Train and Sleep Number. (Quicken Loans, a mortgage refinancing company, also suspended its ads after reviewing "feedback" from their clients and staff.)

And it's likely that more of Limbaugh's sponsors will make for the exits, now that a full-scale boycott effort is under way on Twitter (spearheaded by @StopRush, an online activist who led a boycott of Glenn Beck's Fox News show in 2009) and with the Daily Kos circulating a petition urging advertisers to join the protest.

Limbaugh may also soon face a lawsuit. Fluke herself has not ruled out the possibility and, even if she doesn't take legal action, it seems the Democrats will: New York's own Representative Carolyn Maloney yesterday told an audience in the city that "we will be filing a slander suit against Rush Limbaugh."

While the left has been loudly pillorying Limbaugh's boorishness and misogyny, the right has only quietly denounced him. Speaker John Boehner refused to respond directly and instead used a spokesman to say that he "obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation," a not-so-subtle jab at Democrats, including Maloney and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, both of whom cited Limbaugh's vitriol in recent fund-raising appeals. Speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Rick Santorum did concede that Limbaugh was "being absurd" before semi-justifying the whole thing by saying that "an entertainer can be absurd." And, as for Mitt Romney, all he could muster was a tepid, "It's not the language I would have used."

So much for all those female voters the GOP needs to woo in November.

Update: It looks like Limbaugh has decided he’d like to see this particular National Conversation end. His website has posted a short statement in which he admits to having “[chosen] the wrong words in my analogy of the situation” and issues a direct apology to Fluke “for the insulting word choices.” Of course, he hasn’t changed his position on the contraception issue: “I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? In this case, it seems they got a call from their advertisers.