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‘RIP Bozo’: Pat Robertson, the Literal Worst Person, Has Died

Pat Robertson speaking at microphone while Rudy Giuliani watches.

Leader of the religious right and all around execrable human being Pat Robertson has finally done something worth celebrating. He’s dead.

Just in time for Pride Month, too. If there is a divine force out there responsible for everything that happens in the world, then I have to say this was a very thoughtful present from them.

For those blessedly unfamiliar with this particular horrendous bigot, here’s a brief rundown of his hate-filled career.

The AIDS Epidemic and HIV

Robertson claimed gay people with AIDS wore special rings that would cut them and anyone they shook hands with so they could purposely infect people with HIV. Yes, you read that right. This, something I cannot believe I just had to type out with my own two hands, is an actual thing Robertson actually claimed live on air during a 700 Club broadcast, in the middle of the AIDS pandemic, when homophobia and violent bigotry aimed at people with HIV were rampant. His source when later called out on it? Some guy, you can totally trust him, bro.

He also said of Kenya, when asked if he planned on visiting the country, where he had a large fanbase, “You might get AIDS in Kenya. The people have AIDS in Kenya. The towels could have AIDS.” Aside from the fact that spreading dangerous misinformation about how HIV is transmitted directly endangers people who are living with the disease, this is also just wildly racist. This was in 2014 by the way, long past the time when there was any excuse for believing this sort of misinformation, much less spreading it.


Robertson blamed 9/11 on America’s alleged moral decay, specifically name checking the ACLU, abortions, and LGBTQ+ people. He tried to walk it back later when he realized it wasn’t playing well, because men like that stand for nothing but power and money, but he said what he said and we all heard it.


Immediately after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Robertson decided to make a statement claiming the Haitian people were in league with the devil, implying the earthquake was God’s punishment for this ancestral bargain. The word implying is unfortunately the key word there, because Robertson was able to use the fact that he didn’t outright say “and so this is why God sent the earthquake” to defend himself when people rightly called him out for it.

“You know, something happened a long time ago in Haiti. They got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you get us free from the French.’ True story.”

Pat Robertson, 700 Club


Robertson regularly stoked suspicion of and hatred toward Islam and Muslims in the years after 9/11, when the political and social environment made it particularly profitable to do so, comparing them to Nazis and claiming they were intent on world domination and that Islam wasn’t really a religion but some sort of cartoonishly evil political system. In 2013, Robertson specifically urged the government to “identify our enemy” in regard to Muslims as they’d done with other groups during the second world war. There’s a lot of things that could mean, and pretty much all of them would be human rights violations.

Remember the proposed Muslim community centre in New York that right wing Christians and assorted bigots opposed on jingoistic, Islamaphobic grounds? Yeah, Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice led the legal arm of the opposition to it.


Robertson backed George W. Bush and helped him get elected. Worse, he’s primarily responsible for the alliance between the Republican party and the Christian right. All of this, that’s happening right now with hate in the Republican party? It would not be happening if he hadn’t decided to throw himself headfirst into politics, something he largely did because he initially wanted to be president himself.

He also blamed the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas on disrespect for Donald Trump, who he had separately referred to as “God’s man for this job,” and he claimed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was divinely inspired, that he was “compelled by God”, in part to bring about the end times. That sounds laughable but quickly becomes a lot less funny when you realize a lot of people actually believe this and the theology that goes with it.

Homophobia and Misogyny

In addition to his utterly hateful assertions about HIV+ gay men in the ring story mentioned above, Robertson’s homophobia has been consistent and relentless. Regularly blaming natural disasters and other tragedies on the social acceptance of and growing legal rights for queer people, Robertson has made some utterly ridiculous claims.

“I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you,” Robertson said. “This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs; it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.”

Pat Robertson, on Orlando’s decision to fly Pride flags from lamp poles

He pushed fundamentalist Christian ideas of patriarchal headship. On one occasion, he advised a caller on his show that he needed to find a way to make his rebellious wife submit, joking about moving to Saudi Arabia where he could beat her into submission before talking around the idea of domestic violence as a solution.

He’s repeatedly absolved male infidelity on the grounds that men are just like that (“he’s a man”), blaming cheating on women for not being good enough to keep their husbands from straying and instructing them to be grateful for the food and shelter their husbands provide. While plenty of right wing cranks have these sorts of opinions, the scale of harm done goes up considerably when you’re addressing a very large audience that hangs on your every word.

He claimed Hurricane Katina was God’s punishment for legal abortion. He equated marriage equality with pedophilia and bestiality. The man was a constant stream of anti-feminist rhetoric, including this iconic (for the wrong reasons) quote that I’m pretty sure my mother (and a lot of other feminists of a certain age) has on a fridge magnet.

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

Pat Robertson, in a 1992 Iowa fundraising letter.

And that’s just a quick highlights reel. It doesn’t even begin to cover the total outpouring of his multi-faceted hate, or the faith healing and grifting Robertson also managed to pack into his unfairly long and wealthy life. He’s done immeasurable harm to queer people, women, abortion rights, people of color, and democracy itself, but now he’s dead and RIP BOZO is trending as the people he’s harmed digitally dance on his grave.

If you made it all the way through that grim list, you could probably do with a palate cleanser, so here are some of the memes people have been sharing to celebrate his passing.

(featured image: Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Siobhan Ball (she/her) is a contributing writer covering news, queer stuff, politics and Star Wars. A former historian and archivist, she made her first forays into journalism by writing a number of queer history articles c. 2016 and things spiralled from there. When she's not working she's still writing, with several novels and a book on Irish myth on the go, as well as developing her skills as a jeweller.