UPDATE: ThinkProgress is reporting that 11 advertisers have dropped Rush Limbaugh.
So far, we’re looking at a whopping seven advertisers who have pulled their ads from Rush Limbaugh‘s programming following his three-day tirade over how Sandra Fluke is such a “slut” and a “prostitute.” And while it’s hardly news that this particular conservative entertainer blasted an articulate young woman advocating for government mandated birth control coverage, Rush’s comments have nationally struck a nerve. During the course of last week, it seems that the nation suddenly awoke to the rampant misogyny that often awaits women and girls with unpopular opinions in the public sphere. But even after Rush released an apology asking the public to dismiss his woman-bashing as humorous, the company Carbonite nevertheless pulled their ads. It appears that for David Friend, the CEO of Carbonite, calling young women “sluts” and “prostitutes” doesn’t fly particularly because he is a father of two girls.
In a statement, David Friend cited his own daughters when announcing his company’s pulled advertisements, and also put the question to all those parents out there who have little girls of their own:
“No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”
While I respect the space from which David made this decision — that of fatherhood — it is worth mentioning that every woman is someone’s daughter — clearly. And that although David was able to trace his distaste for these sorts of comments to his own family, this type of slander should concern everyone regardless of whether they happen to have little girls at home or not. After all, if you’re hoping to raise sons who will engage with women in a respectful manner — whether romantically or professionally — this type of slander is very hurtful to them as well.
The blustering Rush Limbaugh may have gone after a young woman in a highly sexist and derogatory fashion, but he is obviously not alone in the way he chooses to attack women who carry different values than his own. The usage of “slut” is pervasive as evidenced in everything from our very own comment threads to modern television — as is the practice of slut-shaming. Rush is certainly headache-inducing with his style of delivery, but his slander on women is not unique to his on-air persona or even his political affiliation. Words like “slut” and “whore” get thrown at daughters and women regardless of how those perpetrators vote — and by even self-identified “progressive” individuals as well as other women.
Rush Limbaugh should be taken to task for calling Sarah Fluke a “slut” because she could very well be anyone’s daughter. And CEO David Friend seems to have recognized that possibility in severing professional ties with the radio host. But many people, regardless of their political affiliation, bombastic character, or manner of speech will most likely call your daughter a “slut” one day — and they should certainly be taken to task as well.