NEW YORK, March 5 (UPI) -- AOL says it has joined the parade of U.S. advertisers abandoning Rush Limbaugh despite his apology for verbally attacking contraception advocate Sandra Fluke.
AOL spokeswoman Maureen Sullivan said one if the company's core values is to act with integrity.
"We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh's comments are not in line with our values," she said in a statement. "As a result we have made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show."
Ad Age said Limbaugh appears unfazed by the loss of at least eight advertisers to his radio talk show since calling Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, a "slut" and "prostitute" for testifying at an event organized by House Democrats about the importance of contraception coverage under government-required health insurance policies.
AOL, ProFlowers, Quicken Loans, Sleep Train, Sleep Number, Citrix Systems, Carbonite and LegalZoom have pulled out of the conservative radio show, Ad Age said.
Limbaugh said advertisers who leave his show over the controversy will be replaced, Ad Age reported. He said he rejects millions of dollars of advertising a year.
Limbaugh explained to his listeners why he apologized to Fluke during the weekend.
"I've always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program. Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate. They were uncalled for. They distracted from the point that I was actually trying to make, and I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her," he said Monday on his radio show.
"I do not think she is either of those two words. I did not think last week that she is either of those two words."
He said his apology to Fluke was sincere.
"It was simply for using inappropriate words in a way I never do, and in so doing, I became like the people we oppose," he said.
Limbaugh went on to criticize Fluke, however, for opposing Georgetown University's policy on contraceptive coverage.
"Georgetown is a Jesuit University. It's Jesuits, run by the Jesuits, which are a Catholic order of priests. Their policy on birth control is not exactly a secret," he said. "If birth control insurance is important to you as an enrolling student, and you find out that Georgetown doesn't offer it, you might want to attend (or work at) a school that isn't run by Catholics."
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