CNN’s Anderson Cooper went after broadcaster Pat Robertson on Wednesday night, using sarcasm to respond to the controversial Christian leader’s most recent claim that some gay activists in San Francisco use rings to cut others’ hands in an effort to transfer the AIDS virus to unsuspecting victims.
The odd statement was made while Robertson and his co-host Terry Meeuwsen were answering a viewer’s question. A woman named “Mary” wrote to the “700 Club” to explain that she had been taking a man in need to church each week, since he could not drive himself.
At some point, Mary found out that the individual she was helping had AIDS — something the church had not previously told her.
She wrote in to ask Robertson and Meeuwsen whether she should have been informed about the ailment, especially considering the potential ramifications if there was an accident and the disease was transmitted.
After settling on the fact that there was likely no danger to the woman, Robertson veered off course.
“You know what they do in San Francisco? Some of the gay community — they want to get people, so if they’ve got the stuff, they’ll have a ring, you shake hands and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” he told Meeuwsen, who responded, “Really?”
“Really. It is that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder,” Robertson added.
Watch this discussion unfold, below:
The Christian Broadcasting Network was subsequently accused of editing the comments out in the archived version of the show. At the 39:00 mark of the full episode, as Right Wing Watch notes, the portion about the ring is, indeed, missing:
After Robertson’s comments went viral, it seems the religious broadcaster was anything but willing to back down. Rather than apologizing or separating from his comments, he doubled down, saying that he regrets that his remarks were “misunderstood.”
In a statement delivered to the Atlantic Wire, the CBN founder said the following:
I was asked by a viewer whether she had a right to leave her church because she had been asked to transport an elderly man who had AIDS and about whose condition she had not been informed. My advice was that the risk of contagion in those circumstances was quite low and that she should continue to attend the church and not worry about the incident.
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.
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.
Clearly unwilling to let him off the hook, Cooper tackled this issue during his RidicuList segment on Wednesday night. The CNN host said that Robertson is “sort of like that elderly relative who you only see at Thanksgiving,” essentially dismissing him as rambling and nonsensical.
“Robertson’s thoughts on gay issues are very well thought out and very well articulated,” Anderson quipped, playing past clips of the Christian leader’s other questionable comments (oddities that he dismissed as “Pat Robertsonisms”).
Cooper concluded by sarcastically chastising Robertson.
“Thank you, Pat Robertson. You are a true crusader,” he said. “And we definitely didn’t consider just permanently changing this segment to the Pat Robertson list, although it does have a certain ring to it.”
Watch Cooper’s take-down, below: