Rush’s “I’m sorry for calling you a slut because it provoked a boycott” apology doesn’t stop AOL pulling advertising

Rush LimbaughSo far, a total of eight companies– Carbonite, Citrix, Go To Meeting, Legal Zoom, ProFlowers, Quicken Loans, Sleep Number, Sleep Train and, as of today, AOL–have pulled advertising from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show over the Viagra-popping hate jockey’s mysoginist statements about Sandra Fluke, which include calling her a slut and prostitute and imploring her to film herself having sex. The media is saying that Rush Limbaugh has apologized. But I don’t think the following is an apology, do you?

In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices. [my emphasis]

Let’s break down what Rush is saying. He is basically saying,

Dear Sandra, I’m sorry for calling you a slut, but I still think you are slutty, irresponsible and unaccountable and I still think women deserve to have to have their ovaries removed because of polycystic ovarian syndrome, which birth control could have prevented, and I still think women deserve to die of ovarian cancer, which birth control could have prevented. But I am sincerely sorry and regret calling you a slut because my doing so provoked a national boycott against my show. Please don’t take this as a personal attack. It was, of course, a personal attack, but let’s pretend it wasn’t. So, again, in conclusion, you are a slut but if I shouldn’t have called you that.

P.S. Please note, I’m only apologizing for the instance. I’m usually a standup guy. This was a totally isolated incident.


To honor Rush’s dishonesty, let us start using the term “Rushology” and the verb “to Rushologize.” A rushology is an insincere apology, which is belied by the very language of the apology. The regret of the rushologist may be sincere, but it is a self-interested regret, rather than remorse. We’ve all witnessed rushologies even if we didn’t realize it at the time. For instance, the 5-year old who is mean to a classmate and admonished by his teacher and “apologizes” because he doesn’t want to get into trouble is rushologizing. The rushology will often be accompanied by a refusal to make contact and a tone of voice that’s more appropriate for a death wish than an apology. A subtler more adult rushology may sound like this: “I’m sorry if you were offended by what I said.” To further familiarize readers with the word, I’ll give you some examples of more Rushologies. If Rush had said “I’m sorry you were offended that I called you a slut. Of course, If you weren’t a slut, you wouldn’t care,” he would have been rushologizing. If Rush has said “I’m sorry I asked you to film yourself having sex so I could watch it, but can you send it to me,” he would have been rushologizing.

You don’t have to be Rush Limbaugh to be a rushologist. Here are some rushologies anyone can say:

  • I’m sorry I called your mom fat. When she wears yellow, I do confuse her with a school bus.
  • I’m sorry for calling your mom a whore. She does sleep with people for money, but I chose the wrong words.
  • I’m sorry I called you a dirty Jew. I would like to eliminate your kind with some sort of final solution, but I don’t mean this as a personal attack and I chose the wrong words.
  • I’m sorry I threw sand in your eyes because my mom glared at me and this means she won’t buy me candy. If I had known she was looking, I wouldn’t have thrown sand in your face. But now that I’m not getting candy anyway, I’m going to bury your head in the sand. 
  • I’m sorry I said I hope you die a violent death. I shouldn’t have said that. But I’m going to push you into oncoming traffic.

And here is Sandra Fluke, quite appropriately, not accepting Rush’s non-apology:

Let Sandra Fluke know you stand with her and encourage advertisers to stay away from Rush by signing this Think Progress petition.

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12 Comments

  1. Posted March 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    What’s most disappointing and shallow about this apology is that he didn’t even apologize for, what was for me, the worst and most disgusting part of his rant: demanding that women who want their birth control paid for by their insurance should pay back the rest of society by posting videos of themselves having sex online.

    I can see WHY he avoided mentioning it, it’s a lot harder to explain that away than to say that he “used the wrong words”, even though he clearly used exactly the words he meant. What different choice of words could he have used to make that sound any better?

  2. Posted March 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    If Rush Limbaugh’s life became a musical, it would be called Rushology. And it would be written by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone. The opening number would be called “It’s Too Late to Rushologize.”

  3. Posted March 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Okay, Rush, here’s something for you:

    You can either pay for a women’s birth control, or you could pay for the baby she will more than likely have, because even if you say “Personal responsibility!”, (which by the way, having sex with protection IS personal responsibility), she’s going to have sex, she’s going to get pregnant, and since abortion is more than likely illegal, she’s going to be forced to have that baby. She won’t have enough to raise it on her own. She’s going to get welfare to help her pay for her and her baby. And you will be paying for it.

    By logic, would you rather pay for her birth control so she can have sex and NOT have a baby, about once a month for a couple years, or pay for her baby, which will cost a lot more than birth control for 18 years?

    Oh wait, I forgot, I usually make sense when I speak. My bad.

  4. Posted March 5, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I had a feeling that his apology wasn’t sincere. Plus, he most likely will do it again.

  5. Posted March 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like “I”m sorry I called you a gap-toothed bitch. It’s not your fault you are so gap-toothed.”

    • Posted March 6, 2012 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      “I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me…but I can’t help it that I’m so popular.”

  6. Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Sneakers and contraception sound like an even better analogy. “In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.” Therefore it is too personal to be discussed in front of members of Congress? Abortion is personal, and nowadays it shouldn’t reach a Presidential level either, but there it is. It’s too easy, contraception and abortion are just as personal. And if sex is personal, derogatory sexual adjectives are too. You can’t believe in one and state the other. Anyway, “Rushology” is hilarious. He makes my skin crawl but you got me to laugh about it.

  7. Posted March 6, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    What is bothering me the most, is that a lot of women from the feminist community rationalize the need for birth control by stating medical reasons. Why that is certainly an important reason to be provided affordable/accessible bc, I think we often overlook that it is contraception, and a woman’s right to choose when she has a child (if ever). Why are we so scared to use that rhetoric? Thoughts?

    • Posted March 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Because the right to choose does not imply the ability to choose. There is a wide range between ‘Contraception vis contraception is legal and all aspects of it are private (possibly shared with a doctor or partner).’ and ‘Contraception vis contraception will be provided at request and the cost will be fully subsidized.’

      Personally, I would prefer a sliding scale of payments for preventative and corrective medicine, but I don’t think it could be implemented fairly and still provide universal access.

    • Posted March 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Because a lot of the people who are against birth control, like Rush for instance, demonstrate a fundamental lack of knowledge as to what birth control is and how it works. I think this argument is the easiest way to explain that birth control is a medication. They don’t consider it healthcare and have responded to the outcry with, just use condoms. Pointing out that it treats medical problems helps other arguments, such as people saying birth control is ridiculously cheap. Because some birth control might be, but when you’re thinking about it as a medication, you can realize that not every woman can take the same birth control, or take it without the regular supervision of a doctor.

      More specifically, I use the argument because this is my own personal experience, and I want my, and everyone’s, personal experiences to be in this discussion. I’ve been on birth control for years because of health problems, and this is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says, just don’t have sex, use condoms, you have that option. Because I don’t and I never will. All of our stories about birth control should be out there.

      However, I also explain how condoms aren’t as effective, and women who use condoms only could be more vulnerable to pregnancy if they are raped, and the fact that the only alternative being proposed is a male-centric form of contraception, therefore taking away the agency of the women who can’t choose their own birth control. The rhetoric of choice is vital as well, in my view. We should be talking about it, and being unapologetic about our right to bodily autonomy. But, at least for the most part, I don’t believe the feminists talking about the health issues angle are running away from that narrative, but are giving the narrative more nuance.

  8. Posted March 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Viagra popping!? There is absolutely no need to use that as an insult. What Rush said is vile rhetoric (and he is a vile creature in general) but equating his ED as an insult is just petty and wrong. Shame.

  9. Posted March 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Please, please, please stop using poly cystic ovary syndrome, cancer, or any other disease as reason insurance companies should pay for contraception. This argument allows people to think of sex as something optional for women, or implies that there are better more noble reasons for needing contraception than “just” sex. Women need contraception because we have sex. It’s part of being human. You wouldn’t say some women who get raped wear modest clothing so don’t say some women using contraception have ovarian cysts.

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