After news of Rush Limbaugh's misogynistic insults towards Georgetown Law Student Sandra Fluke hit the airwaves, Ultra Violet, a non-profit online community "fighting to expand women's rights and combat sexism," launched an online petition targeting Limbaugh's advertisers. Limbaugh, the same man who was stopped at an airport for carrying illicit bottles of Viagra on a trip to the Dominican Republic, called Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" after she testified before Congress arguing for the importance of contraception coverage by universities and employers, regardless of their religious affiliation. Adding fuel to fire, Limbaugh demanded that Fluke release tapes of her having sex to the public in exchange for contraception coverage.
Ultra Violet's petition calls for the inflammatory conservative talk show host's advertisers to "Drop his show ASAP." The petition says, "Rush Limbaugh has crossed the line: Over the course of 3 days he attacked a young woman 53 separate times for testifying before Congress about birth control as a medical necessity." The petition garnered 51,000 signatures within the first 5 hours, and has succeeded in convincing a number of sponsors, including ProFlowers, to drop Limbaugh.
ProFlowers joined the ranks of eight other advertisers to pull its ads, stating on their Facebook page that it has suspended advertising on Limbaugh's program because of his comments about the law student, who has never been a public figure. Limbaugh's, "comments went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company." Limbaugh issued a rare apology. "My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir," Limbaugh wrote in a released statement. "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." Even after the apology, Limbaugh continued to talk about Fluke on air and argued her testimony was fabricated.
Ultra Violet is now targeting "Life Lock." Although Limbaugh is taking heat from sponsors, radio behemoth Clear Channel is standing by their man. Limbaugh's contract with Clear Channel runs until 2016. Clear Channel told the Associated Press: "We respect the right of Mr. Limbaugh, as well as the rights of those who disagree with him, to express those opinions."
On November 16, 2006, two private equity firms bought out Clear Channel: Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners. Bain has been in the news lately due to presidential candidate Mitt Romney's long time association with the firm.
Clear Channel's public relations department can be reached in Texas at 210-822-2828 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.