Anti-LGBTQ televangelist Pat Robertson once claimed that gay men have a “secret ring” to help them transmit HIV to other people.
The claim, made in 2013 during a segment on Robertson’s The 700 Club show, was so extreme that the Christian Broadcasting Network removed the clip from Vimeo and YouTube, PinkNews reports.
Robertson’s comments reemerged last week after the death of far-right media personality Rush Limbaugh led to criticism of a segment from his show in which he mocked gay people dying from AIDS.
In the 2013 segment, Robertson and co-host Terry Meeuwsen discussed HIV/AIDS in response to a question from a viewer.
“You know what they do in San Francisco?” Robertson says. “Some of the gay community, they want to get people, so if they’ve got the stuff [HIV], they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring has a little thing where you cut your finger.”
“Really?” Meeuwsen responds.
“Yeah, really,” Robertson continues. “It’s that that kind of vicious stuff which should be the equivalent of murder.”
The Atlantic reported in 2013 that CBN edited the segment out of an archived upload of the broadcast and the network attempted to have footage of the clip obtained by RightWingWatch removed from YouTube and Vimeo.
Robertson issued a statement at the time claiming that he had been “misunderstood” and that suggesting gay people were deliberating infecting others with HIV was not “meant as an indictment of the homosexual community.”
“In my own experience, our organization sponsored a meeting years ago in San Francisco where trained security officers warned me about shaking hands because, in those days, certain AIDS-infected activists were deliberately trying to infect people like me by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood,” he said.
“I regret that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said. In no wise were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease.”
Robertson has previously claimed that allowing out LGBTQ scouts into the Boy Scouts of America would expose scouts to “predators” and “pedophiles,” and arguing that the Equality Act would be as devastating to America as “atomic war.”
He has also claimed that gay people would force anal sex and bestiality on people, urged his viewers not to attend their gay child’s wedding, said that gay people “can’t reproduce” and will die out, called gay people “terrorists” and “extremists,” and compared transgender people to his castrated stallion.
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