A law student branded a "slut'' and a "prostitute'' by right-wing US radio host Rush Limbaugh in an on-air rant about contraception rejected his apology as more sponsors abandoned his show.
Internet pioneer AOL was the biggest name to declare it would no longer advertise on "The Rush Limbaugh Show,'' the highest-rated talk show on US radio, syndicated to more than 600 radio stations from coast to coast.
"At AOL, one of our core values is that we act with integrity,'' it said on its Twitter account. "We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh's comments are not in line with our values.''
California-based Tax Resolution Services also yanked its ads, it announced via Twitter, although it retained Limbaugh's personal endorsement of its services on its website.
Distancing themselves earlier from the famously abrasive broadcaster were ProFlowers, Quicken Loans, mattress outlets Sleep Train and Sleep Number, and tech firms Citrix Systems, Carbonite and LegalZoom.
Limbaugh apologized to Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke over the weekend for calling her "a slut and a prostitute'' after she argued before a congressional panel in favor of health-insurance coverage for contraceptives.
He renewed that apology on Monday, telling listeners: "Those two words were inappropriate. They were uncalled for.... I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her.''
But Fluke, 30, appearing on ABC television's "The View,'' said she did not think Limbaugh's remarks changed anything, "especially when that statement is issued when he's under significant pressure from his sponsors.''
Advertising Age, a trade journal, in a recap of similar furors in the past, said: "Advertisers may appear to leave, but they more often simply move to the sidelines. Sometimes, they even come back.''