Pat Robertson’s Toxic Legacy

Televangelist Pat Robertson was a founder of the religious-right political movement and an icon of its media; as such, he was a staple of Right Wing Watch’s coverage for decades. Even after he was no longer a powerhouse in right-wing politics, Robertson continued to use his media platform to promote the kind of toxic rhetoric that has become standard among the far right.

In light of the news of his passing and the praise being heaped upon him by his ideological allies, Right Wing Watch has dipped into its archives to provide broader documentation of Robertson’s legacy. We will follow up with a post that puts Robertson into greater historical context.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed “pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way” for the attacks.

In 2013, Robertson claimed that gay men wear special rings that they use to spread HIV. After Right Wing Watch posted the clip, Robertson’s “700 Club” program edited that segment out of its reruns and then tried, unsuccessfully, to get our clip removed from the internet.

In 2017, Robertson blamed the mass shooting in Las Vegas to a disrespect for President Trump, the national anthem and God.

In 2013, Robertson said that a devastating earthquake in Haiti was due to the nation having made a “pact with the devil.”

In 2014, Robertson urged a viewer not to become a missionary in Kenya because “you might get AIDS.”

In 2015, Robertson ranted that gay people were intent on forcing others to embrace anal sex and bestiality.

In 2014, Robertson asserted that “those who are homosexual will die out because they don’t reproduce.”

In 2012, Robertson declared that homosexuality is “related to demonic possession.”

In 2013, Robertson wished that Facebook would include a “vomit” option for reacting to photos of same-sex couples.

In 2016, Robertson advised that the best thing for Christians to do when it came to dealing with LGBTQ activists and Islamic terrorists was to “sit on the sidelines and let them kill themselves.”

In 2015, Robertson recommended consoling a woman whose baby had died by telling her that “that little baby could grow up to be Adolf Hitler, he could grow up to be Joseph Stalin, he could grow up to be some serial killer, or he could grow up to die of a hideous disease.”

In 2021, Robertson told a man whose wife had insulted him that he “could become a Muslim and you could beat her.”

In 2011, Robertson urged a man whose wife was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease to simply divorce her and move on.

In 2012, Robertson recommended that people not adopt children from other nations because they could have been subjected to things that might cause them to grow up “weird.”

In 2013, Robertson warned that Dungeons & Dragons was a “demonic” game that has “literally destroyed people’s lives.”

In 2012, Robertson insisted that a wave of deadly tornadoes could have been prevented if people had simply prayed more.

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