NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Motors and drug maker GlaxoSmithKline pulled their advertising from shows hosted by Don Imus on Wednesday, striking a blow to the shock-jock and broadcasters who carry him.
American Express and Home loans Web site Ditech.com also said they would withdraw their ads.
They joined companies including household products maker Procter & Gamble Co. and office supplies retailer Staples Inc. in pulling their support amid an outcry over an on-air racial slur by Imus about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.
The moves put pressure on CBS Radio and MSNBC, which carry his nationally syndicated show on radio and television.
Imus has apologized for referring to members of the Rutgers team as “nappy-headed hos” on his April 4 show. He has also been suspended for two weeks starting next Monday.
GM, one of the biggest U.S. advertisers, said in a statement that it welcomed the apology but would suspend its advertising while it continued to monitor the situation.”
GM declined to comment on how much it spent on advertising on the show, but according to figures from TNS Media Intelligence, the automaker ran $692,OOO worth of commercial spots on MSNBC’s broadcast of the Imus show last year.
Other top TV advertisers, according to TNS, included Sprint Nextel Corp., GlaxoSmithKline, American Express and TD Ameritrade.
A spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline said the company had pulled all of its ads from MSNBC to avoid having any appearing on the Imus show.
Sprint Nextel could not immediately be reached for comment, while TD Ameritrade said it was evaluating its sponsorship.
The comments by Imus sparked protests nationwide, with black leaders such as Rev. Al Sharpton, who had Imus as a guest on his own radio show this week, calling for his dismissal.