Rush Limbaugh has apologised for calling a college student a 'slut' after she argued that employers should pay for their workers' contraception.
The controversial radio host's comments, which included a suggestion that Sandra Fluke should make a sex tape, caused a row which saw him abandoned by advertisers and even drew in Barack Obama.
But today he acknowledged that he 'chose the wrong words' while trying to 'illustrate the absurd with absurdity', and insisted: 'I did not mean a personal attack on Ms Fluke.'
Rant: Rush Limbaugh, 61, left called Sandra Fluke, right, a student at Catholic college Georgetown University, a 'slut' for saying religious institutions should cover birth control under health insurance
Mr Limbaugh had faced repeated calls for an apology after claiming that the student must be sexually promiscuous because she supported a contentious measure which would have forced religious institutions to fund birth control for their employees.
But instead he dialed up the rhetoric, first saying that Ms Fluke should film herself having sex and then claiming that she 'had boyfriends lined up around the block'.
However, after three companies pulled their advertisements from his show and the President called Ms Fluke to express his support Mr Limbaugh finally backed down on Saturday afternoon, three days after his initial remarks.
On his radio show yesterday, the 61-year-old defended his comments and went on to suggest that Ms Fluke 'had boyfriends lined up around the block. Or they would have been in my day'.
He said: 'She's having so much sex that she's going broke, she says... You're worried here that I'm just stepping in it deeper, yes you are but this is the truth.'
'If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex... we want you to post the videos online so we can all watch'
On Friday three advertisers revealed they will pull all adverts from the radio show after the host had made fun of Ms Fluke for saying religious institutions should cover birth control in health insurance - and said in a further show that she should have to make sex tapes if this ever happens.
Mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, as well as mortgage lender QuickenLoans, have all bowed to pressure on Twitter and said they will no longer advertise on the show.
‘We don't condone negative comments directed toward any group,’ a Sleep Train spokesman tweeted. ‘Thanks to all of you for your concern and input.’
'Recent comments by Rush Limbaugh do not align with our values,' a Sleep Number spokesman said. 'So we made decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program.'
A QuickenLoans spokesman said: 'Due to continued inflammatory comments - along with valuable feedback from clients & team members - QL has suspended ads on Rush Limbaugh.'
Meanwhile advertiser ProFlowers said it will 're-evaluate’ its marketing plan and dating site eHarmony insisted it will look into ‘the matter of 'network buys’.
Mr Limbaugh said earlier this week that Ms Fluke, of Catholic college Georgetown University in Washington D.C., was promiscuous for saying woman should get the pill for medical reasons.
And he went even further on his next show, saying: 'If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex... we want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.'
Annoyed: President Barack Obama, seen on Friday, considers Mr Limbaugh's remarks 'reprehensible' and called Ms Fluke to express his disappointment that she was the subject of 'inappropriate personal attacks'
Shock: Ms Fluke told MSNBC's Today show on Friday that she was 'stunned and outraged' by the comments
Mr Obama said he considered Mr Limbaugh's remarks 'reprehensible' and called Ms Fluke to express his disappointment that she was the subject of 'inappropriate personal attacks'.
'He said he hoped my parents were proud of me,' Ms Fluke said, adding that the President 'thanked me for speaking out and for expressing the concerns of so many women'.
'The fact that our political discourse has become debased in many ways is bad enough,' a White House spokesman said. 'It is worse when it's directed at a private citizen simply expressing her views.'
More surprisingly, Mr Limbaugh has also faced criticism from the Republican presidential candidates, with Rick Santorum calling his comments 'absurd'.
When Mitt Romney was asked what he thought about the remarks, he replied: 'I'll just say this, which is, it's not the language I would have used.'
Mr Limbaugh said on his original show regarding Ms Fluke's comments on birth control: ‘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.’
Ms Fluke said on Friday that she has been left 'very upset' by the comments made by Mr Limbaugh.
'My reaction was the reaction a lot of women have had historically when they’ve been called these types of names,' she told MSNBC. 'Initially to be stunned by it, and then to quickly feel outraged and very upset.'
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