Many people were up in arms when radio host Michael Savage made his inflammatory comments about autism on his July 16th broadcast. Savage made ramarks that “99% of children with Autism where kids with behavioral problems”. And suggesting that the way to discpline these children was to tell them to, “Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot”.
Probably most important of those that took offense was Aflac, who announced that they were pulling all of their advertising dollars. The show subsequently lost its syndication on several radio stations in the south. A move by Telesouth Communications, the company that syndicates the show to more than 350 stations, that comes immediately after Aflac pulled its money from the show. Savage, who is known for his controversial remarks may have gone too far. However, he refuses to apologize, despite the thought by many that an apology is the only way to save face. On a statement on his website he says the comments “were meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community’s attempt to label too many children or adults as “autistic”.”
Savage plans to allow callers that wish to disagree with his remarks to do so by giving over his entire show on Monday for caller comments. But it may be too little too late. When one advertiser jumps ship, all others are sure to follow. Backing someone like Savage can become a real liability to advertisers.