Rush Limbaugh Screws Himself Over Talking About Sex

If you’re too young to be familiar with him, lucky you. If you aren’t, you are rolling your eyes. I mean, the guy refers to feminists as “feminazis” on a regular basis, his stated stance on black and African-American people is “They’re 12% of the population, who cares,” and he is overall just a landmine of offense.

For instance, let’s just take a walk down memory lane to revisit some of the amazingly homophobic comments this man has made for perspective. Back in 2009 David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement picked his top five homophobic remarks from the man including, “When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult; it’s an invitation” and topping the charts was the comment:

“…let’s say we discover the gene that says the kid’s gonna be gay. How many parents, if they knew before the kid was gonna be born, [that he] was gonna be gay, they would take the pregnancy to term? Well, you don’t know but let’s say half of them said, “Oh, no, I don’t wanna do that to a kid.” [Then the] gay community finds out about this. The gay community would do the fastest 180 and become pro-life faster than anybody you’ve ever seen. … They’d be so against abortion if it was discovered that you could abort what you knew were gonna be gay babies.”

And why stop there! A few of his most racist comments include, “Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it,” and, “The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.” Needless to say, outrage for the fodder this man gives to sexist, homophobic, racists everywhere is not in short supply.

Seriously, my skin is crawling.

Most recently, he called an upstanding citizen who is a long time advocate for reproductive rights a “slut” after she spoke out in support of birth control. Specifically, he said this about Sandra Fluke, a 30 year old Georgetown University Law Student.

If you haven’t heard, here is what Limbaugh said about Fluke after she testified before Congress in support of women’s access to contraception:

What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.

Limbaugh went on to say that in exchange for America paying for Fluke’s sex, we should get a sex tape of her sex acts. And then he “apologized.” Sandra Fluke responded saying that “apology” changed nothing. Limbaugh’s apology cited “an attempt to be humorous” and “illustrating the absurd with absurdity.” It did not include the word “sorry.” Nor did it mention that he had completely elided the difference between “being paid to have sex” and “not having to pay out of pocket to avoid unwanted pregnancy.” It did not mention that he had made completely unwarranted and baseless assumptions about Fluke’s personal sexual decisions, or the bizarre presumption that the only context in which women actively engage in non-procreative sex is sex work, or his reification of the false and hurtful negative connotations of sex work in general. Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report weighed in on the matter.

Limbaugh, many pundits on Fox news, and others on the right are basically arguing that if you can’t afford birth control it’s because you are having too much sex — specifically, recreational sex outside of a marriage or committed relationship — and just need to cut down on the sex to cut costs. That’s not how the science works here, folks! Most people understand that if you have sex once a month or  twenty times a day you still need the same amount of birth control. And that most of the people who need to pay for birth control aren’t necessarily irresponsible “college co-eds” (as Limbaugh erroneously and patronizingly called Fluke) but people in committed relationships who can’t afford or don’t want children (and whose children the GOP doesn’t want to pay to support via foster care or welfare). Sadly, this illogical argument comes as little surprise to those paying attention to the  political climate surrounding health care coverage. As Carmen explained, it’s all part of the GOP war on women’s rights and reproductive health. Also, as Fluke herself pointed out, some women use birth control for reasons other than preventing pregnancy, including to control against endometriosis and to control acne.

In response, financial investors are (finally) dropping like flies, pulling ads from Limbaugh’s program right and left including AOL, Quickenloans, Sears, AllState Insurance and Carbonite. Even Peter Gabriel is out. Meanwhile, Clear Channel continues to stand by their man. It would be nice if advertisers had responded earlier, and if asking his listeners “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?” had motivated 11 advertisers to drop him as much as calling a white lady names has. But 11 advertisers, many of them major, going and taking their money with them is a great message for Limbaugh to receive — even if at least one political action committee has actually moved to buy more advertising with him since the Sandra Fluke incident.

There is no denying that progressives are able to rally when need be as we saw with the Komen-Planned Parenthood funding debacle. There have been other times when the left has moved to respond to hateful comments from Limbaugh but maybe it’s a testament to the power of social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, that we may finally see the end of Rush Limbaugh this time around as sponsors bail — or at least fewer people and places willing to give his outrageously hateful and unfounded rhetoric a platform.

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Jamie lives in Boston and is currently a PhD student in Global Governance and Human Security at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a freelance writer and also a team associate for the Boston chapter of Hollaback!.

Jamie has written 79 articles for us.

27 Comments

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    Thank you for pointing out the hypocritical nature of the investors dropping him now. Rush Limbaugh has been a professional bigoted asshole for years. It’s more embarrassing for the investors who are only dropping him NOW than it seems to be for him.

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      To be fair, it’s probably at least partially because it’s been brought to everyone’s attention, it’s reached the point at which people might actually be willing to boycott and that would affect how much profit these brands could get out of it. In that way, it’s a sad reflection of society as a whole, not just big companies. They’re really reacting to how society responds, not to what Limbaugh actually says.

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    The dude’s a douche. It’s pretty simple.
    I’m still just disturbed that politicians are sponsored like frickin race car drivers. Obamacare…would you like fries with that? How are we not more pissed off that this is how it works?

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      I hope he pours it over his cereal and in his coffee before he notices it’s bad. And then he realizes that the bowl of cereal with the bad milk was the last of his cereal, and someone drank the rest of the coffee.

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    What makes me the most angry about this whole thing is… Viagra is covered by insurance, but the pill isn’t? Limbaugh uses Viagra (In fact, he was arrested for having a bottle of it in SOMEONE ELSE’S name en route to the Dominican Republic during the time in which he wasn’t married. So, prostitutes? Anyone?)… So who the hell does he think he is to point fingers?

    Getting boners after nature tells you should cut it out: A-OK
    Wanting to be responsible about if/when you have children: SLUT

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    For advertisers, of course, it all comes down to profits, and there’s a fine line between “offensive to the point of sparking interest/discussion, and thus actually making advertising on this show more profitable” and “offensive to the point where people are willing to actively boycott companies that advertise on this show”. That’s certainly not to say that his previous comments have been any less offensive – but in this case, rather than insulting a relatively small demographic of people, he’s managed to insult fully half the country’s population. (It would be nice if everyone would stand up so vocally for the smaller demographics too, but that’s another discussion to be had.) And I think the fact that he carried on for three days, then issued his first notpology and his second even weaker notpology, has made this an even bigger deal in people’s minds.

    (“Notpology” is my newfaveword and I’ve been finding ways to work it in to every discussion I’ve had on this topic. It’s so useful!)

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    It really took them that long? Just a week or so ago, he said about Danica Patrick’s support for Obama’s birth control mandate “What do you expect from a woman driver?” It’s no secret that he’s a raging misogynist and always has been.

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    Men are usually half of the equation in baby-causing sex and yet Limbaugh and the extreme right present it as if women are the only ones involved in the sexy time? I mean, that would be fine with me…but really, it’s as if they don’t realize that men are also out there “having so much sex.” Are men also prostitutes? Are men also sluts?

    I wonder if this discussion would exist if it was men who had to take the birth control pill.

    God, Limbaugh, could you just choke on your own jowls already?

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    Rush Limbaugh Screws Himself Over Talking About Sex:
    Reading the title to this article I FINALLY figured it out!!!! – well at least Rush’s behaviour, that is – the reason WHY he does this sh*t – namely SCREWING himself over – it’s because it’s the only f*cking screwing he’s seen in years!!!! Yeah I know, I’m terribly childish and immature. For once (well in all honesty it’s probably NOT the first time) I’m going to stoop to his maturity level and make some inane statement like this.

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    We need a new word. Rush Limbaugh recently reminded us that the only words for sexually active women are pejorative: slut, whore, etc. What is the term for sex-positive woman? There isn’t one. Yet. A sex-positive man (which sounds almost redundant) is called a stud, a Don Juan, a Casanova, all with a wink and a smile. I’m calling for a new word. If I want to claim my sexuality and my right to enjoy it without fear of unwanted pregnancy and, yes, expect my health insurance to help me pay for birth control, what can you call me? We need a new word. Or perhaps we can rehabilitate an old word. I propose…the antiquated term doxy. Please spread the word. With apologies to Stephen Colbert, I say that’s the word. Got a better one?

    Sincerely,

    Lark Ryan, LCSW

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