Is HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, spread through secret rings gay men wear? Pat Robertson says yes. On a recent episode of the 700 Club, televangelist Pat Robertson told his viewing audience that gay men in San Francisco wear special rings that have the power to infect people with the HIV virus, causing AIDS in victims with whom the men shake hands. The unsuspecting victims’ hands are cut by the rings, Robertson says, and then somehow, HIV, the AIDS causing virus, is transmitted to them. The remark came during a discussion about a question a viewer had sent in regarding whether or not she should have given an elderly man infected with AIDS a ride to church.
Robertson turned to his co-host, and said:
What they do in San Francisco, the gay community, they want to get people, so if they’ve got the stuff (AIDS)…they have a ring and you shake hands and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger…it’s that kind of vicious stuff that would be the equivalent of murder.
Right after Robertson said that the rings cuts the victim’s finger, his co-host said “really?!” in a rather surprised tone. To which Robertson replied, “yes, really.” The remark is just one in a series of flagrantly false statements made by Robertson over the last few years.
After Robertson made the remark, the story was picked up by a couple of news outlets, and the video was widely circulated online, prompting the Christian Broadcasting Network to file a complaint with YouTube for Copyright infringement. But now, the CBN has failed in its attempt to scrub the internet clean of Robertson’s insane theory. The website that originally placed the video on YouTube, rightwingwatch.org, filed a counter claim, asserting that the video was protected under fair use, and received word yesterday that the video had been restored to YouTube.
The Christian Broadcasting Network didn’t stop there, though; they also have removed Robertson’s remarks from the show itself and that segment was not able to be seen in the first broadcast nor is not able to be seen in reruns. The only clip available is one from an archived version, which is available to be seen on the rightwingwatch.org website.
Besides this latest secret gay AIDS-causing ring controversy, the network is also mulling over getting into in a legal battle with two documentary filmmakers regarding a movie that exposes some unpleasant facts about Robertson’s charity, Operation Blessing. In the film, entitled Mission Congo, it is alleged that Robertson’s charity engaged in fraudulent and dishonest fundraising activities. The film alleges that Robertson diverted funds intended for Rwandan refugees to fund his own blood diamond mining operation.
Robertson sent a statement defending his AIDS-causing ring statements to the Atlantic Wire, which said, in part: “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.”
Oh… so this is something that used to happen? Actually, no. There are no reports anywhere to be found about gay men wearing special rings to give people AIDS, and even suggesting such a thing is totally preposterous. Robertson has embarrassed himself yet again. Anderson Cooper said it best when he compared Robertson to an old relative who says embarrassing things at the dinner table “in between bites of soft food.”
So no worries. AIDS is not spread through special, hand-cutting gay rings that men wear in San Francisco. Now that that myth has been debunked, we can all sleep a little more soundly at night; or at least stroll through the Castro without fear of being purposely infected with AIDS.
By: Rebecca Savastio