Carbonite Drops Rush Limbaugh: Battle of “the sluts”

While Carbonite CEO David Friend backups up personal computers, he apparently doesn’t want to back up his decision to drop Carbonite’s advertisements on the Rush Limbaugh show because Rush called Ms. Fluke a “slut”. Strangely, David Friend is not interested in removing his advertising from the MSNBC Ed Schultz show who also referred to Laura Ingraham as a slut. I find this most intriguing. David Friend apparently doesn’t abide by principal when it comes to calling a woman a slut. Otherwise, why would he pull advertising on one show and not the other?

You may think Ed Shultz might not have been as mean with his attack or that somehow it wasn’t as bad. Well, I don’t know about you, but based on the intonation of the slut attacks, Ed Shultz’s remark sounds a lot more hostile and offensive than Rush Limbaugh’s. Rush for the most part phrases the slut remark in the form of a hypothetical question. And if you thought Ms. Fluke was just a young college girl, think again. She is a 30 year old woman’s rights activist who has been doing what she does for a long time.

So I find this strange. Why would Carbonite chose sides on something like this? Why would David Friend pull its advertisements from Rush and not Shultz? I personally think he let his personal ideology interfere with business and in the short-term, this could hurt his company. Especially in today’s world where people feel like they need to pick sides more than ever before. At this point, the company appears hostile towards one group of people and indifferent to others. This certainly isn’t a good place to be when the product you sell has nothing to do with anything other than backing up home computers.

Now that Carbonite has integrated politics into its business model, it’s going to have a hard time shaking this stigma. Especially when targeting someone as big as Rush Limbaugh who has millions of loyal fans. And the more publicity this gets, the more it’s going to hurt Carbonite, not Rush. Perhaps this is why Carbonite’s stock price plunged more than -8% the day after it announced it was dropping its advertisements on Rush’s show (Ticker: CARB).

This was an bad decision by David Friend. The image of a company is heavily influenced by the actions of its CEO and Carbonite may have alienated a large potential customer base. After all, millions of loyal Rush fans are no longer going to hear about Carbonite.

… And those loyal fans who have subscribed to the service may very well cancel their service in protest, just as Carbonite has.