When Woodbury resident Colby Vendt's father asked her if she had heard Rush Limbaugh's recent comments about women, she took to the Internet and was shocked.
Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, was called a slut and prostitute by Limbaugh. Fluke supports women's access to birth control and was excluded from an official congressional hearing on the contraceptive mandate in the United States' health care laws.
According to ABCNews, Limbaugh later said, "So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."
The comments were troubling to Vendt.
"I felt like I couldn't read it out loud anymore -- I was so distraught by that," she said. "Then the discussion started between me and my family. My mother said, 'I can't believe they still let him on the air'."
Vendt wondered if there was a petition calling for Limbaugh's removal from the airwaves but did not find one at the time.
So she created one on the change.org website, asking the Federal Communications Commission, or FFC, to remove Limbaugh from the airwaves. The website lists her town as Roxbury, because she lives on the Woodbury-Roxbury town line.
"Change.org is a social action platform that empowers anyone, anywhere to start, join, and win campaigns for social change," according to the change.org website.
Vendt's petition asking for Limbaugh's removal from the airwaves is on the change.org website.
Other petitions have sprung up on the change.org website, asking for all radio stations broadcasting Limbaugh's programs to cease immediately or asking the FCC, U.S. Congress, radio broadcasters and advertisers to stop supporting Limbaugh.
A call to the FCC's Office of Media Relations was not returned as of press time but was forwarded to the press point of contact. Patch will update the article upon hearing from the FCC.
An e-mail to the Rush Limbaugh show in New York did not yield a response as of press time. Repeated phone calls were made but the line was busy each time.
Signatures on the Petition
As of 5:10 p.m. Friday, March 2, Vendt's petition had 1,440 out of 1,500 signatures. The petition is not capped at 1,500 but is rather a goal -- when more signatures are received, the 1,500 number will increase to the next goal.
"The first signature other than me came from Kentucky, where my mother is from," Vendt said.
Since then, the online signatures have come from every state in the country and beyond -- Vendt said people from 12 other countries, including one person from Korea, signed the petition.
She attributes that wide geographical range to the issue being non-political.
"This isn't a political issue," Vendt said. "This isn't an 'I hate Republicans' issue. It's a defamation of character and an abuse of media."
Vendt cited a past case when a radio personality suffered the repercussions of his actions.
In 2007, radio host Don Imus was fired by CBS Radio after saying racial slurs when talking about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, according to CBS News.
"He was ripped off the air faster than you can say his name," said Vendt. "The fact that nothing's being done to Limbaugh is appalling."
Some sponsors distanced themselves from Limbaugh's show after he made the comments about Fluke, according to MSNBC, most notably Select Comfort, a mattress manufacturer, and Sleep Train, a mattress store.
The Next Step
The deadline to sign the petition is June 3, 2012. The next step, which Vendt said she is willing to take, is to contact the FCC about the petition.
"I'm hoping that something happens before then," she said.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put forth a petition of its own, Vendt said.
"Sign our petition today telling Republicans to end their War on Women and ensure women’s voices are heard in discussions about women’s health care," the DCCC stated on their website.
"I don't think that's enough," said Vendt. "I totally believe in free speech. But there's a line and that line was crossed."