Televangelist Pat Robertson died at 93. His death was first announced via his broadcasting network, and no cause was provided. Today, the internet reflects on the strange timing of the notoriously homophobic pastor passing away during Pride Month.
Robertson rose to national fame in the 1980s, when he founded the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Coalition. The ultra conservative pastor pioneered televangelism, and long espoused harmful conspiracy theories about the LGBTQ+ community. The former Southern Baptist minister ran for president in 1988, saying that “god told him” to do so. He finished near the top at the Iowa caucuses, though the Republican nomination ultimately went to then Vice President George H.W. Bush.
Before his attempted political career, the pastor became popular in Christian circles as the host of “The 700 Club” in the 1970s. The show reportedly reached 30 million homes. By the 1990s and 2000s, Robertson began spreading hateful rhetoric surrounding several groups. He notably denounced feminism, claiming that it caused women to “leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
In a 2013 episode of “The 700 Club”, the pastor additionally falsely claimed that gay men in San Fransisco, California, would deliberately infect people with AIDS. The LGBTQ+ community is reminding the internet of the lasting impact of hate speech in wake of his death.
Pat Robertson–who cheered the spread of AIDS as "God weeding his garden," blamed 9/11 on feminists and the ACLU, blamed Hurricane Katrina on abortion, and equated same-sex marriage with pedophilia–has died. Happy Pride Month???? https://t.co/SqJJU32nPv
— Gillian Branstetter (@GBBranstetter) June 8, 2023
The irony of Robertson dying during Pride Month is sparking all kinds of responses.
If Pat Robertson didn’t want his enemies dancing on his grave he could simply have chosen not to die during Pride Month pic.twitter.com/yy21AJbQ0w
— andi zeisler (@andizeisler) June 8, 2023
Activist Matt Bernstein shared a clip of one of Robertson’s conspiracy theories about women and LGBTQ+ people.
— matt (@mattxiv) June 8, 2023
E verybody 🙂
— ???????????????????????? ???????????????????????????? (@robertkessler) June 8, 2023
Outside of his homophobia, Robertson additionally frequently spread xenophobic and racist views against several different groups. He infamously blamed Haitian citizens for a detrimental earthquake that struck the country.
In 2010, a horrific earthquake struck Haiti, killing an estimated 160,000 people.
A day later, Pat Robertson went on The 700 Club and told viewers that Haitians were to blame, claiming they made a deal with the Devil during their 1791 rebellion against slavery.
— Charlotte Clymer ???????? (@cmclymer) June 8, 2023
Pat Robertson, the right-wing televangelist and former Republican presidential candidate who espoused racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, AIDSphobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic bigotry on air for decades, has died. pic.twitter.com/hCLNtkQtCA
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 8, 2023
Several major news outlets and media platforms announcing Robertson’s death are making it clear that they do not support his messaging.
I can tell you as a fact that no one is happier to see Pat Robertson finally die than Freeform pic.twitter.com/ln3bgq2Pma
— Chris OIIey (@chrisoIIey) June 8, 2023
The only appropriate Pat Robertson obituary pic.twitter.com/rfixgrmhZt
— Wu Tang is for the Children (@WUTangKids) June 8, 2023
The pastor is survived by his four children, including Gordon P. Robertson.