A progressive talk show host excoriated conservative radio giant Rush Limbaugh on Thursday for “slut shaming” her with a false claim he made on his program earlier this month.
Limbaugh, in a claim he now concedes was wrong, said on his September 4 show that Krystal Ball, a former MSNBC host who now co-anchors an online television show for The Hill newspaper, “posed nude” when she was “14 or 15.”
Speaking on her show Thursday, Ball noted that Limbaugh’s claim was false, saying she “did not pose nude” when she “was 14 or 15.”
“Slut shaming is an old tactic in American politics, in world politics,” Ball added. “It’s used to say that women aren’t worthy of being anything other than sexual objects. And frankly, it’s bulls***. I didn’t want to let it slide without calling it out.”
Ball said Limbaugh was likely referring to photos of her that resurfaced in 2010 when she was running for Congress in Virginia. The photos were of Ball and her now ex-husband, fully clothed, joking around with a sex toy at a party shortly after she graduated from college.
“It’s sexist and it’s wrong, regardless of political party,” Ball said in a statement at the time the photos resurfaced. “And I have a message for any young woman who is thinking about running for office and has ever attended a costume party with her husband or done anything stupid on camera. Run for office. Fight for this country. Don’t let this sort of tactic deter you.”
Limbaugh clarified on Thursday that he was, indeed, referring to those photos, while continuing to mock Ball as a “hostette” and former “infobabe on PMSNBC.”
“I was under the impression that when she ran for Congress … some nude photos of her from social media had surfaced,” Limbaugh said. “Well, it turns out that that wasn’t quite true.”
A formal correction was also added to the transcript of the September 4 program posted on Limbaugh’s website. “Krystal Ball never posed nude,” the correction said.
Ball did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Limbaugh’s Thursday clarification and comments.
But Ball said earlier that she had struggled with whether or not to even address Limbaugh’s initial claim.
“You know, something like this happens,” Ball said, “And you’re like, do I just ignore it? Or do I want to say something about it? And the bottom line is … he has got millions of followers, fans, and this transcript is out there online so I wanted to correct the record.”
Ball also said she wanted to make a larger point about Limbaugh’s comments.
“If I did have some naked photos from when I was 14 or 15 or whenever, who freakin’ cares? It is not your job to be the moral police or to shame me or to any other young woman who may have nude photos that come out,” Ball said. “If they want to run for office, if they want to be political leaders, they still can, and I wanted to make sure I was able to put that message out there.
Limbaugh said on Thursday his point had been that “there isn’t any privacy on social media” and that he “wasn’t moralizing.”
“I was, simply, was talking about what people who engage in social media who desperately want to be famous, you’re gonna get it …. I was – no moralizing at all,” Limbaugh said. “You think I’m gonna be upset about some woman appearing nude somewhere? No! That’s not gonna bother me.”
This is not the first time that Limbaugh has faced charges of sexism. In 2012, advertisers fled his program after he labeled then-Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke as a “slut.” Limbaugh later apologized to Fluke for his comments.