A day after controversial "dating" website AshleyMadison.com offered to buy all excess inventory from the marketers who've abandoned Rush Limbaugh, the firebrand talk-show host said that he would never accept their advertising on his radio show.
"We do not [accept] sponsor companies that help people cheat on their spouses," Limbaugh told listeners on Thursday. "We have not accepted [their offer]. We have never run ads from [them]. We never will."
Limbaugh lashed out at Alexandra Petri, a Washington Post columnist, who wrote that Limbaugh's show had picked up AshleyMadison.com, proving that the show "targets jerks."
"It is an out-and-out lie," Limbaugh said of the report. "Nothing could be further from the truth."
Limbaugh called it a "blatant example of what journalism has become," complete with Petri's "B-I-T-C-H-Y opinion."
He added that when advertisers like Ashley Madison buy local ad time on affiliates carrying Limbaugh's show, "we call the stations and ask them not to."
"It is unfortunate that content producers--whether it is Rush Limbaugh or the NFL--don't stick to focusing on the content they produce and let perfectly legal and legitimate businesses advertise," Noel Biderman, Ashley Madison's chief executive, told Yahoo News. "While I am not surprised that Mr. Limbaugh feels he is above letting us advertise on his show, he is mistaken if he believes that millions of his listeners don't need AshleyMadison.com."
Biderman said on Wednesday that the company—which he says spends more than $22 million on advertising per year—sent a letter to Limbaugh's head of ad sales, offering to buy airtime for three months for each advertiser that dropped their support of Limbaugh in the wake of his comments about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke.
"We are in the business of selling affairs," Biderman said. "And our audience is absolutely his audience." The site, whose motto is "Life is short. Have an affair," is a frequent advertiser on Howard Stern's satellite radio show.
Limbaugh claims that, following his public apology, at least two of the advertisers that pulled out of his show have asked to return, though would not disclose who they are. "One of them is practically begging to come back," he said. "Everything is fine on the business side. Everything's cool."
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